OK, so this one takes some lateral thinking, so let me walk you through it. The product is Brazilian coffee brand BonoGrão and the concept is that you want to keep lecherous, rich, old men away from gold-digging young women. Do you get the link yet? It took me a while, but look at the base of the artwork. It’s an eyeball. Which makes the old men and the young women eyelashes. And what happens when you don’t have enough caffeine? That’s right – your eyes close. And so, eyelashes come together. Which – remember – you don’t want.
It’s a bit of a logical leap isn’t it? But apparently it made sense to someone, because there were also two other variations – one with luchadores facing off against each other, and the other one with Princesses and Prince Charmings. You don’t need to be squeamish about eyes to be freaked out by this, but it helps.
4. Panda Toaster
This one, however, takes no explaining. There is a toaster. It has pandas on it. If you make toast in it, it’ll have an imprint of a panda on it. And this is something to get very, very excited about. In typical Japanese fashion, there is a girl using the toaster as if she’s never done such a thing before, and it unleashes an army of animated dancing pandas (above). It may confuse and frighten the average Western consumer, but I can testify that babies are fascinated by it.
The advert concludes with the over-excited girl taking a delicious-looking bite out of her entirely dry toast and making the “OK” symbol. Makes you want one, doesn’t it?
This was another series of interlinked ads, all building to a campaign that aimed to…sell you a soft drink. After dropping hints and mysterious passwords on a “Lost” fansite, the campaign culminated in the site sublymonal.com, which is now in German and something to do with kissing.
Along the way, there was a seriously mind-bending commercial where competing lemon and lime forces stealthily entered a house with guns and launched an attack on….a giant tongue (above). And along the way, there were some midgets in nipple-shape green and yellow hats, dive-bombing into a pool. I’m not quite sure what the point of it all, but that’s how subliminal advertising works, isn’t it?
More Japanese insanity now, for that well-known Asian brand McDonalds, specifically the SpongeBob Happy Meals. All Japanese commercials are hyper, but it seems like Japanese kids are even more excitable than their grown-up counterparts. I challenge you to watch this commercial all the way through, but it is almost entirely screaming. Sometimes it’s the boy screaming, sometimes the girl, but there is a lot of screaming. It’s only 30 seconds long, but it will feel like the longest half-minute of your life. What is it they put in that orange juice?!
Maybe it’s just oranges. Maybe they make people crazy. You would be forgiven for thinking that the humble, vitamin-C-packed fruit had something sinister in it after watching this British campaign from the early 90s. The idea was simple – a man drinks from a can of Tango and pauses for a second, realizing that something unusual has just happened. A rewind shows a man dressed and painted entirely in orange running up to him and slapping him about the ears, with the tagline “You know when you’ve been tango’d”
It was instantly popular (although in the days before youtube, it’s not so easy to measure) and its popularity was to lead to a ban, as schoolchildren around Britain starting punching their friends in the ears and yelling “You know when you’ve been tango’d”. Eventually, the ad was reshot and the orange man kissed the Tango drinker instead but the phrase had well and truly passed into the popular consciousness by then and it took more than a reshoot to stop those children “Tango”ing each other. For inciting a nation of children to violence, as well as the original crazy ad it is a deserving winner of the title of “Most Insane Advert Ever”