The 30 Freakiest Ads of 2010

Clowns to human socks, drivable butts to domestic violence

It's that time of year again—when we grit our teeth and pick the weirdest, goofiest, grossest, silliest and freakiest ads of the year. The 2010 crop had it all: death, sex, zombies, farting, car accidents, domestic abuse, cancer, clowns, guys rubbing their own testicles on their face. You really couldn't ask for much more. Check out the winners (in some cases, losers) below. We still have a month to go in 2010, so we promise to update this list with anything particularly insane from December. For now, enjoy.

  1. Fortnight lingerie

    "Super Sexy CPR"

    Red Urban, Toronto

    Click to view. We begin, logically enough, with lesbian CPR. This Canadian video from Fortnight lingerie is one of the racier first-aid demonstrations you'll ever see—and pretty salacious as lingerie ads go, too. Two Fortnight-clad ladies show proper CPR technique, including the firm but tender chest compressions and all-important mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Thankfully, the victim recovers from her life-threatening condition—had she perished, we'd be in a whole different kind of fetish video. The marketer did a followup, "Super Sexy Abdominal Thrusts," making its mark as the official lingerie of suggestive instructional videos.

  2. A&E

    "Hasselhoff Baby"

    Digital Kitchen, New York

    Click to view. A&E created a reality series about David Hasselhoff and his two daughters, who are "aspiring singers." (Update: It was canceled after two episodes.) To promote it, the network rolled out this clip from Digital Kitchen showing a pint-size Hoff trucking down the beach, the ocean breeze gently caressing his toddler chest hair, as hot women look on. "Some people are born awesome," says the tagline. Those same people later drunkenly eat burgers off the floor, but that's OK. The Hoff is badly in need of mothering at every age, so this promo is right on. Watch out, Huggies jeans-diaper boy. There's a new kid in town.

  3. Starburst


    TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York

    Click to view. Starburst is advertising itself lately as a contradiction—a solid candy that's also juicy, like a liquid. The idea was introduced in 2009 with a Scottish Korean father and son, who, like Starburst, "don't make a wee bit o' sense." The Scottish Koreans returned in 2010 in this ad from TBWA\Chiat\Day, in which they fend off a bus-riding zombie who thinks "living dead" is the most noteworthy contradiction of all. The earlier spot provoked some odd reactions around the Web (e.g., "I think Korea and Scotland have a lot in common. Both have been invaded repeatedly by their neighbors, both have a reputation for loving the drink a bit, and both have slightly feminine native attire"). Starburst was probably counting on the living dead not to complain this time. The zombie might look familiar—he's played by Zach Woods, aka Gabe from NBC's The Office.

  4. Utah State Fair

    "Uncommonly Good Pigs"

    Director: Jared Hess, Salt Lake City

    Click to view. Has any human ever serenaded a pig so passionately? Doubtful. Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess went all out with a pair of spots for the Utah State Fair, getting actor Markus T. Boddie to voice his deepest feelings for a pig and a funnel cake (both well-loved Utah State Fair staples). The client wasn't feeling the love, though, and rejected the ads out of hand, saying they had "sexual undertones" and were "over the top." Hess believed it was because the actor, Boddie, is black. Boddie sided with Hess. "There are black people here in Utah that aren't related to Gladys Knight," he said. "If we embrace that, then I think that's the image of Utah we want to take forward." The sow had no comment.

  5. Jack in the Box

Join the foremost brand marketers, such as Marc Pritchard, Brad Hiranaga, Kory Marchisotto and more, for Brandweek Masters Live on Sept. 14-17. Secure your pass and learn from the brand masters.

Recommended articles