When did TV ads get so weird?

Seriously - they’re all so bizarre now it seems. I haven’t really watched TV for the past year, and now that I’ve watched a few hours…when did ‘surreal’ become the hottest thing in ads? THere are two that come to mind: A Skittles ad with nightmare-inducing human-sheep things eating skittles off a tree trunk. There’s also a Mentos commercial featuring semi-singing-y birds to a tune I can’t quite place.

Any other spectacularly weird ones out there?

How about those Levi’s ads from the 1970’s that were shown backwards?


I can’t figure out how seeing a plumber’s fat sweaty ass in women’s panties is going to help sell any of Frank’s Hot Sauce. It’s certainly not an image I want going with my food!

I’ve mentioned this one before: around the same time Princess Diana died there was a stupid commercial for a chocolate bar… I don’t remember which one. A guy is riding a bike and he goes into a tunnel. Cue sound of guy getting hit by a car. But in the “alternate ending” where he stops just outside of the tunnel so he can eat the chocolate bar, he lives. And they kept running this tasteless commerical after Princess Diana was also squashed in a tunnel. “Eat our chocolate bars or die!” is a really shitty way to sell stuff if you ask me.

I’ve heard there’s controversy about a Paris Hilton ad… whose idea was it to put her in a commercial in the first place? The only thing I’d ever want to buy from her is special bleach that can scrub her from my brain! :smiley: People are probably just upset that this product is not yet available!

Well, I know no-one really asked the ‘why’ question, but I’ve heard that the surrealistic trend from the past few years has mostly been to (1) try and make ads stand out a little more and (2) (in a wild, somewhat flailing way) get past the cynicism that most people have about advertising, especially television commercials.

General consensus seems to be ‘no, it doesn’t always work, but it’s kinduv better than anything else we have at this point.’
Also, bear in mind that, IIRC most TV advertising now is not expected to directly sell products and services. It does its job if you remember the company name, and maybe what field they’re in. From there, they try to sell you the product in other ways once you know (or are reminded) that they exist.

Im trying to place the new Mentos Bird tune myself.

As for the Weird factor. I assume most of the weird ones are local. I think the humor has increased, but the weird factor has not.

The Skittles indicate mixed fruit… to things that would not normally go together.

So you’re saying that men and sheep wouldn’t normally go together? Many Scotsmen would disagree!*

*[sub]I kid, I think the whole Scotmen and sheep thing is overdone but it just fit so well here.[/sub]

I think the first truly weird ads I saw were those Little Caesar’s ads at the end of the 1980s (or around):
1:“Two pizzas for $5? That’s impossible!”
2:“Nothing’s impossible. I taught my dog to say I love you!”
[pan to dog]
D: “Ri Ro Ru!..Ri Ro Ru!”

There were several in this series (the only other one I remember is “Nothing’s impossible, Sistine Chapel on the head of a pin!”). They were immensely popular and spawned tons of knock off ads, which I think we are still seeing today – the general tone being hit your sell line hard and give it a high dose of weirdness to make it stick in the viewer’s head.