When we think of food advertising, we tend to jump to the big names in the industry; KFC, Burger King, Subway, and Pizza Hut, to name but few. Nothing too exciting going on there.
However, if you take a closer look, and cross over a continent or two, you'll soon find there are some completely absurd and bizarre advertisements out there even for the most mundane cuisine. And when it comes to the weirdest and wackiest in the industry, whether a commercial or a billboard, there is always the risk that the general population won’t "get" it.
This first came to my attention in my travels around the world. Some made me stare unreservedly and question almost every question there is in life. There were some food ads that made no sense whatsoever. Then there were some ads that completely deterred me from ever wanting to try said food. Why would I want to eat “erotic crisps”? My mind was boggled, and I just couldn't understand why anyone would want to them.
Yet these adverts were clearly successful in their goals, at least to some degree. I can only guess their strategy was that the weirder and wackier it was, the longer it lingered on your subconscious. Then one day you see said product, by which point you've forgotten all about their creepy advert that kept you awake for hours every night of your precious childhood. And ta-da! Success.
From the first TV commercials and billboards of the 1950s to the ones we see today, they have persuaded, manipulated, and entertained us. But there are also those which have downright confused, and honestly, freaked us out. Here's a roundup of some of weirdest, wackiest, and in some cases truly horrifying, food advertisements of all time.
Catherine Laws is a special contributor for The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @catlaws123
Little Baby's Ice Cream
To celebrate the opening of their new ice cream store in Philadelphia, the owners of Little Baby’s Ice Cream decided to create this TV commercial: the most terrifying commercial you have ever seen. And if you don't want to be put off ice cream forever (like I didn't), I strongly advise you avoid watching this commercial for the rest of your life. While a man covered in what appears to be the ice cream advertised, not once blinking, a disturbing narrator hauntingly claims “you'll wink, and nod, and hug, and high five each other with great enthusiasm.” Run away now!
The source of many people's fear of clowns. McDonald's has come a long, long way since its first TV commercial in 1963, but if this commercial is anything to go by, Ronald McDonald the clown's real career has been starring in horror movies ever since.