The 30 Freakiest Ads of 2009 Roller-skating babies, Hitler, 9/11 exploitation, rat poison and more

New Mexico Department of Transportation20

"Some Things Can't Be Reversed"
VWK, Albuquerque, United States
Click to view. This powerful drunk-driving PSA begins at the story's end—with the pale dead girl whispering to her guilt-ridden father in prison—and proceeds backwards in time, a technique that freshens up the material and accentuates the sense of loss.

Israel AIDS Task Force19

Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R, Tel Aviv, Israel
Click to view. The slippery, shrimpy, inconsiderate imp in this safe-sex PSA was meant to personify the doubt you won't be able to shake after having unprotected sex. "With any unsafe sex, a new doubt is born," says the on-screen copy, meaning there's probably an Orc-like army of these guys around somewhere.

U.K. Department for Transport18

Leo Burnett, London, U.K.
Click to view. The U.K. launched a campaign this year warning young people not to do drugs and drive. In this spot, a pack of friends cruise around town, high on something or other, with their freaky big eyes evidently a dead giveaway for police.

Land Transport New Zealand17

"Trapped (Bloody Idiot)"
Clemenger BBDO, Wellington, New Zealand
Click to view. New Zealand road-safety ads are always high on the freakometer. Here, a dead guy flops around and terrifies his injured buddy after their drunk-driving accident. A bit of unintentional comedy seeps in, as the dead guy's body looks a bit like a dummy.

Lastenklinikan Kummit16

"Child as a Mirror"
King, Helsinki, Finland
Click to view. This PSA for the Children's Hospitals of Finland focused on the mental health of abused children, and went for the all-out horror-movie vibe. There's the sinister music and even a frightening-looking doll, which the girl treats badly, as she herself has obviously been treated.

Lustgarten Foundation15

"Dan's Pancreatic Cancer"
Gardner Nelson + Partners, New York, United States
Click to view. Personifying death and disease is old hat, but this spot, with pancreatic cancer looming like a serial killer in the back seat, wields a particularly sharp scythe. The driver, of course, doesn't see the threat, and you want to shout at the screen: Death's in the back seat, you moron!


"Roller Babies"
BETC Euro RSCG, Paris, France
Click to view. A worldwide phenomenon. Animated babies doing adult stuff. Always freaky.

Wakker Dier (Animals Awake)13

"Ancilla Tilla Strips"
Revolver Media, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Click to view. Festish model/Playboy Playmate/sexy vegetarian Ancilla Tilia strips naked in this spot, but is then gutted like a trout by some dowdy fisherman. The point is to discourage stripping fish while they're still alive. Fish, Ancilla Tilia—it's all the same.

Women's Aid12

Grey, London, U.K.
Click to view. Keira Knightley became a punching bag in this heavy spot, designed to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Victoria Transport Accident Commission11

Grey, Melbourne, Australia
Click to view. This PSA cautioned against smoking dope and driving, and featured an appropriately grisly ending. The message was confusing, though, as the man gets run down by fate after doing the right thing—letting his sober wife take the wheel.

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AdFreak is a daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd.

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