The 30 Freakiest Ads of 2009

Roller-skating babies, Hitler, 9/11 exploitation, rat poison and more

It's the most wonderful time of the year—time to look back at the oddest, creepiest, quirkiest and downright freakiest ads that we covered on AdFreak this year. We've selected 30 spots from all over the world that truly left us with that not-peaceful, uneasy feeling. The majority are PSAs—their freaky means apparently justified by humanitarian ends. The list is also heavy on the U.K., another reminder that we can always count on the English (and the Welsh) for a solid dose of depravity. So, here's to the freakiest of 2009, and more of the same in 2010.

  1. White Castle

    TKTKTK

    "Exotic Dancer"

    Zimmerman, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

    Click to view. Mmm, White Castle pulled-pork sandwiches. Just what you crave after watching a female pig dancing suggestively on a stage and then pulling a lever that douses her in an explosion of tangy barbecue sauce.

  2. Dentyne Ice

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    "Squid"

    McCann Erickson, Bangkok, Thailand

    Click to view. This unsettling spot has it all: a cheating husband, a jealous wife and a giant, horrible squid. The sea beast represents the man's sushi-breath from a secret after-work dinner. The wife smells it when he gets home and flies into a rage. So, the man pops a Dentyne Ice and, with more anger than seems appropriate, breathes a big "Ahhhhh" into the woman's face. Weird.

  3. Lay's

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    "Happy"

    Juniper Park, Toronto, Canada

    Click to view. With its catchy song and playful attitude, this Lay's spot seems harmless enough. Until the end, when our hero gives up the struggle to remain a human being and becomes a mindless dancing balloon like everyone else.

  4. Diesel helmets

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    "Quique the Head"

    Shackleton, Madrid, Spain

    Click to view. Freaky in a fun way, this Diesel video tells the poignant tale of Quique the Head, an Argentinean man born without a body but with plenty of hope and attitude—and a Diesel helmet that protects him when he rolls off tables and down stairs. The tabloid-style announcer outdoes himself with lines like: "Quique's head is not only full of strangely arranged organs, it's also full of dreams." How true.

  5. McDonald's

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    "Are We There Yet?"

    DDB, Stockholm, Sweden

    Click to view. DDB Stockholm remained king of the weird McDonald's commercials with this spot, in which the prototypical childhood car-trip question takes on a sinister aspect.

  6. New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation

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    "Blob"

    Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand

    Click to view. An expanding, grody pink blob takes over a suburban home and eventually smashes through the windows in this breast-cancer awareness spot.

  7. Palm

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    "Déjà Vu"

    Modernista!, Boston

    Click to view. Actress Tamara Hope creeped out plenty of viewers with her ghostly turn in this Palm campaign. Luckily, she's trapped on a rock and worshipped by a dancing orange cult, and can't come hunting for you.

  8. Tabasco

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    "Singing Pepperonis"

    TracyLocke, Dallas

    Click to view. If you put Tabasco sauce on pizza, you're in for a real treat, as small faces will erupt from the pieces of pepperoni and sing for you like a barbershop quartet. Bizarre entertainment right on your dining-room table.

  9. PlaneStupid.com

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    "Polar Bears"

    Mother, London, U.K.

    Click to view. Polar bears fall from the sky to splattery deaths in this PSA, which tries to make some point about airplane emissions. For extra discomfort, how about a blatant 9/11 Falling Man reference?

  10. Apoliva