The best (and very worst) of AdFreak, 2008

t was a busy year here at AdFreak, as we separated the wheat from the chaff, and then wrote mostly about the chaff. Here are some of the highlights and extreme lowlights from among the 1,450 blog items we posted between Jan. 2 and Dec. 11, 2008. Later this week, we’ll start the engines on our other year-end tradition: our week-long contest to pick the single freakiest ad of the year.

—Posted by Tim Nudd

Best Ad:, “Yes, We Can.”

“Wow, finally a politician is making ads that are as good as Nike’s,” Naomi Klein said in The New Yorker. This music-video spot hit it out of the park and set the tone for Barack Obama’s historic presidential victory. Nothing else really came close.

Worst Ad: Toyota, “Saved by Zero.”

The feel-bad spot of the year. With its soul-sucking remake of the Fixx’s 1983 song “Saved by Zero,” it made viewers either want to end their own lives or other people’s. Wrote one AdFreak reader: “I am going to take hostages if I hear this ad one more time.”

Creepiest Advertiser: Skittles.

The candy maker upheld its own reputation for weirdness with some chilling visions in 2008, including a human piñata beaten by a Skittles-seeking colleague. The sheepboys of yore would be proud.

Creepiest Brand Web Site:

It was unclear what Ross, the hairy hipster who liked to make out with the camera, had to do with Converse. Most found him repellent, but he had his fans. One BestWeekEver reader said: “Once you’ve had a taste of this style of kissing, you’ll be begging for more. It’s very lippy.”

Next page: The grossest advertiser, the oddest advertising trend, and the weirdest creature in a commercial.