Freak Week

Clothing was optional on AdFreak over the past few weeks, as advertisers in Europe and America took advantage of the last of the warm weather to disrobe with abandon. The most bizarre (and shocking) nudity was served up in an AIDS-awareness campaign from Germany, in which none other than Adolf Hitler himself hopped into bed with a young woman — in print and on video! “AIDS is a mass murderer,” explained the copy. Other print ads in the series featured Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein in similar poses (though thankfully not together). The campaign, by an agency called Das Comitee in Hamburg, was intended to raise awareness for World AIDS Day in December, but it was roundly condemned by charities across Europe.

On a more lighthearted copulatory note, some candy wrappers caused a British man a world of grief last month when he noticed that they depicted acts of lewd citrus love among various fruits. The man, Simon Simpkins, took particular offense to the green chap on the right. “The lime,” he said, “whom I assume to be the gentleman in this coupling, has a particularly lurid expression on his face.” Yes he does, and he will likely continue to. The Maoam candies, which are actually made in Germany (what is it with the Germans?), have had these racy wrappers since 2002, and have resisted changing them despite appeals to decency from various groups over the years.

In non-sexual advertising news, the New York City health department created the grossest ad of the past several weeks — an advisory warning people not to consume too many sugary drinks. This message was illustrated with the image of cola being poured into a glass — except it’s not cola but raw human fat dripping from the bottle. Officials from the health department sounded almost gleeful about how off-putting the ad is. One told The New York Times: “We had to make sure it looked like real human fat. We did want those little blood vessels and things like that.” Thank you for the attention to detail.

Finally, back to the smut, with this year’s CW promos. Ads for Melrose Place have headlines like “Tuesday is the new humpday” and “Tuesdays are a bitch”; Gossip Girl follows up last year’s “OMFG” promos with a set of “WTF” ads, which is supposed to stand for “Watch this fall”; and 90210’s ads have characters saying things such as, “I like the way you handle balls.” The Parents Television Council is livid about all this stuff, but doing a nice job of collecting links to it all and publicizing them to the entire world.

Best of BrandFreak:

AdFreak’s sister blog BrandFreak looked at the latest viral effort for Bud Light Lime from DDB Chicago — the somewhat bawdy and sophomoric clip of people young and old saying how much they like “getting it in the can.” Some have suggested that the work is tasteless, though BrandFreak quite enjoyed it. “The problem with Bud Light and beer advertising in general,” wrote Ken Hein, “is that brands are afraid to have fun. Sure, thinly veiled anal-sex jokes appeal to ‘the lowest common denominator,’ but who cares? We’re talking about beer. A-B and its agencies need to have a couple and loosen up even more, because its recent run of ads have been a buzzkill.” Those ads include the awful “Drinkability” campaign, which the brewer is hoping to forget with its new “Tailgate approved” effort for football season. That new work is already coming under scrutiny, though, as university officials around the country have decried the brewer’s special new “fan cans,” decked out in the colors of colleges, for encouraging binge drinking.