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

    "2 for $3 Croissants"

    Secret Weapon, Santa Monica, Calif.

    Click to view. Fast-food commercials are the last place you want to hear about a four-hour erection, but Jack in the Box went there anyway in this spot from longtime agency Secret Weapon Marketing. Two breakfast croissants for $3 is actually a pretty good deal; it's just a shame that customers have to associate it with Jack's father's never-ending boner. On the upside, at least we know Jack's chronic creepiness was a genetic inheritance, not the result of working at this particular fast-food chain all his life.

  6. Fresh Up Soda

    "Thirst Is Creepy"

    Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand

    Click to view. Be extra careful if you get a massage in New Zealand. Chances are the masseur will be excessively dehydrated, due to lack of Fresh Up soda, causing him to take on a severely fanged appearance, and speak in a horribly stilted manner—none of which will be very relaxing for you, the customer. "Thirst is creepy," says the tagline. A classic WTF commercial from the New Zealanders.

  7. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine


    Washington, D.C.

    Click to view. And the award for best performance by an overfed corpse in a commercial in 2010 goes to … the guy still clutching a greasy McDonald's burger in this pro-vegetarian spot from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine! McDonald's wasn't overly fond of the "I was lovin' it" slogan and Golden Arches at the end. "This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers," a rep for the chain said. "McDonald's trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them." And of course, they always do. McDonald's sales have been rising all through 2010.

  8. Luftal


    Draftfcb, Mexico City

    Click to view. Luftal, a Bristol-Myers Squibb gas medication sold over the counter in Mexico, offers this unique selling proposition: It will fix your gas problem and therefore calm the gross, jacuzzi-like, fart-churned seas of your bathtub. If you're lucky, your wife/girlfriend will even fetch the Luftal pill and a glass of water for you when the bubble trouble arises—with nary a hint of the utter repugnance she must feel for you inside. Plus, think of all the money you'll save on air freshener.

  9. Better Marriage Blanket

    "Silent … but Deadly"

    Media Corp., Overland Park, Kan.

    Click to view. Sticking with the farting theme for the moment—behold the Better Marriage Blanket, a military-grade fart-absorbing blanket that sounds like, and should be, a B-grade Saturday Night Live ad parody. But no, it's real. (What would this list be without a ludicrous infomercial?) Leaving aside the question of whether the market demands such a product, are they sure it makes "a great gift" for a wedding or anniversary? Yeah, that will go over well. Your days of sleeping on the couch because of your spouse's digestive trouble might be over, but your days of sleeping on the couch because you're an insensitive asshole will just be beginning.

  10. Fruit Gushers

    "Gusher for an Eye"

    Saatchi & Saatchi, New York

    Click to view. This 90-second piece of oddvertising—Gerry Graf's swan song at Saatchi & Saatchi—told the tale of Todd, a kid with a squirting blue Fruit Gusher for an eye. His gift/problem is evident from birth, as he immediately douses his mom with a powerful hose of sticky blue goo. Growing up, he turns out to be a crowd favorite, giving friends a quick squirt-on-the-go, and even providing Dad with a surreptitious slurp. The problem will be when he grows up and tries to join the working world. He'll be stunted and shunned, like almost all adult figures in candy commercials. Until then, keep gushing.

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