The 30 Freakiest Ads of 2011

Van Damme to David Lynch, zombies to food phantasmagorias

You've watched the 10 Best Commercials of 2011. Now, it's time to slip into something less comfortable—the 30 Freakiest Ads of 2011. There's a wide variety this year—from the gross to the creepy, the goofy to the terrifying. We've got celebrity actors (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kristen Schaal, Kate Moss) and celebrity directors (David Lynch, Darren Aronofksy). We've got spots from all over the world—Japan, Argentina, Norway, Italy, and plenty from the U.S. We've even got one freaky commercial that also made Adweek's 10-best list. There are fewer gory PSAs than in past years, too, which allows for more unsettling commercial work to sneak in the door. So, after the jump, sit back and soak up the weirdest commercials of the year. Then take a long, hot shower and try to forget about them.

  1. TOYOTA • People Person

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles

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    Let's start off with a real monstrosity. Did you find the giant Toyota Prius person, made up of lots of normal-size people, to be delightfully enchanting? Or did you find him utterly terrifying? Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles came up with the idea for the creature—a Pilobolus-like beast formed by 18 people linked together, reminiscent of the artwork of Andre Martins de Barros. He was meant to be fanciful, but many found him objectionable. "I'd say the worst part was the nose being someone's butt," wrote one reviewer. "Reminds me just a tad of the Human Centipede."

  2. ZIPPEARZ • Rhythm & Boobs

    Director: David Gott

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    Here's one of the more anatomically strange ads of the year. This spot for Zippearz earbuds featured a female jogger whose breasts got frighteningly auto-jiggly with the funky dance beat, much to the dismay/curiosity of a dude sitting nearby on a park bench. "They won't fall out," explains the just-as-crass female voiceover, which is all breathy and sultry—referring to the earbuds, obviously. Not the proudest moment for tech advertising, but certainly a visual that sticks with you.

  3. CARMAX • Kid in a Candy Store

    Agency: Amalgamated, New York

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    The most mind-bending commercial from Super Bowl XLV last February, this CarMax spot had a peculiar cast of characters: a kid in a candy store, a geek at a robot convention, a mermaid at a swim meet, a wrestler in a folding-chair factory, a hippie in a drum circle, an acrobat in a mattress store, and of course, a customer at CarMax—lucky souls, all, who feel right at home in their environments. All that was missing, really, was the proverbial pig in muck.

  4. SONIC • Heart's Desire

    Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

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    This spot isn't really freaky so much as it is completely awesome. But it descends into a hallucinatory phantasmagoria, so it counts. It opens with a man at a Sonic drive-through being told he can get anything he wants on his burger. This sends him careening into a colorful, crazy daydream full of giant Sonic food floating around and Sonic workers making kaleidoscopic Busby Berkeley moves in roller skates. (The Dude's dream sequence in The Big Lebowski reportedly was an inspiration.) The music tops it off—a parody of "You Can Do Magic" by America, with lyrics that are stupidly and comically forced to rhyme. Throw in some wonderfully goofy acting, and you've got the year's looniest fast-food ad. I'll have what he's having.

  5. ORKIN • Vacation

    Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas

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