5 Most Pointlessly Strange Ad Campaigns
Anyone who has watched TV for more than five minutes knows commercials can be weird. Foot fungus might be singing. Old ladies might be searching for beef. Herpes sufferers might be ecstatically jumping a kayak off a waterfall. That being said, most commercials usually have a good reason for all this insanity. Advertisers are trying for cool, or funny, or maybe they’re just hoping you see something strange enough to rewind your DVR and investigate it. However, these five famous and well-funded ad campaigns were truly insane for no reason at all.
Lots of products have based their marketing on deception. For instance, every soup manufacturer wants us to use their product not for food, but to trick some idiot into thinking we spent all day making soup. I grew up watching so many ladies trick their husbands with instant coffee, jarred spaghetti sauce, and laundry detergent that I still don’t trust women. And among all these products promising us fun ways to lie to our families, none are less believable than DiGiorno pizza.
Their slogan, which you’ve heard, goes, “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno.” There are a couple reasons this is insane. First, no one outside of a DiGiorno’s commercial has ever called pizza “delivery.” The term isn’t exactly incorrect, it’s just not what people say. It’s like calling a person “Earth creature.” You’re not entirely wrong, but you’re probably from outer space.
The second reason these commercials are insane is obvious: you would need a broken mouth and a native language with no word for pizza to mistake a DiGiorno for anything other than a frozen grocery store pizza. The crust is eight inches of sweaty, cement-flavored clay. As for the toppings… when milk is convicted of sex crimes, its punishment is being made into DiGiorno cheese. DiGiorno pepperoni is what pig buttholes call each other during domestic disputes. To make matters worse, each layer of a DiGiorno pizza has a different burning point, so baking it creates an armpitty stack of wrongly-cooked paste. I guess my point is, it’s really weird to assume this hot ring worm scab was delivered by a pizza man.
4. Pace Picante Sauce
For years, Pace Picante Sauce ran ads where cowboys discussed the merits of Pace-brand salsa. They usually listed all of its outrageous, unique ingredients– tomatoes and onions. But the selling point they never failed to mention was how it was made in San Antonio. I have no idea if San Antonio was ever some kind of salsa capital of the world, but thanks to these commercials, it isn’t now.
I don’t care what state this was made in, Pace looks and tastes like someone in a New Jersey chemical plant hit the SALSA button on a food preparation robot. I’m not saying it’s inedible, but there is no salsa so distinctly inauthentic and manufactured. You can practically taste the industrial rehydration fluids. If you ruptured a vegetarian’s stomach over a can of unsalted tomato paste, it would have a shot against Pace Thick n’ Chunky in a taste test.
The other bizarre thing about these commercials is that they end with someone furious over a different sauce made in… NEW YORK CITY!? I have no idea why Pace commercials spent so many years hammering this point into our brain, but New York City is home to unthinkable salsa crimes. Even assuming that was a joke worth repeating for decades, and it wasn’t, why pick New York City as the punchline? Is there a single city on the entire planet with more of a reputation for international cuisine? I know it’s a long way from Mexico, but I bet they can scrounge up someone who knows how to smash a tomato in New York.
3. 7-Up: The Uncola
There are few products in the history of mankind more successful or beloved than cola. So it’s weird that in 1967, 7-Up launched a campaign declaring itself “the uncola.” This became a widely known slogan, but no one was really sure what it meant. It didn’t mean the opposite of delicious cola, because who would want that? And it didn’t mean a healthy cola, because doesn’t a bottle of 7-Up still have enough corn syrup to give 20 rats diabetes?
The commercials starred Geoffrey Holder, who talks like a trombone and an islander are making sweet love somewhere deep inside him.
He explained, in great detail, what it meant to experience refreshment under the light, crisp leadership of uncola. And it was almost confrontationally nonsensical. Each ad was 15 to 30 seconds of chunky word smoothie. They were literally trying to uninvent English, and I blame my misuse of the word literally entirely on them.
2. Pebbles Cereal
Robbery is a very common theme in breakfast cereal commercials. Most of their mascots are either stealing their cereal or having it stolen from them. This makes sense when you’re a leprechaun since robbing is exactly what you’re supposed to do to a leprechaun. And of course the Trix bunny isn’t allowed to have any Trix — cancer researchers know with academic certainty how lethal those dyes are to bunnies. But why the hell does Barney need to steal Pebbles from Fred?
Barney and Fred are extremely close. They share the same job, hobbies, and circle of friends. When Fred finally hits Wilma too hard, Barney is the one who’ll help make it look like a footmobile accident. If this is some cereal they can’t get in stores, there is no way Fred knows some secret cereal dealer that Barney doesn’t. And it can’t possibly be financially related. Not only do they get the same paycheck, most of Barney’s schemes cost magnitudes more than a box of sugar rice puffs. He once hired five ninjas and a hot air balloon to steal one serving of Pebbles. This happened:
It’s a risky thing, telling five professional murderers that their share of a heist is 16% of a bowl of soggy cereal, but Fred’s reaction was worth the trouble. Ninjas descended from the sky to offer him a job during his breakfast, and this was Fred’s response, in its entirety:
Which brings me to my next two points. First, “ME, A NINJA? OKAY,” is my new philosophy on life. And second, Fred is way, way too stupid for Barney to be doing this for fun. There is no sport in tricking a person this gullible. In one commercial, Barney simply puts on a Run DMC hat and barges into Fred’s home, rapping.
Barney has the same face, voice, and a-line dress of Fred’s friend of many years and the man’s first question is still, “WHO ARE YOU!?”
I have no idea why he’s doing this, but I’m starting to think Barney could steal Fred’s Pebbles by just telling him to hold his breath and waiting for him to die.
1. Pork: The Other White Meat
A lot of food marketing is desperately counting on you to know nothing about nutrition. A product with 250 grams of sugar might brag about its whole grainedness. Or you can buy FAT FREE candy if you’re an idiot who thinks nutrition is only two things: healthy and fat. The Other White Meat campaign was absolutely this type of advertising.
The National Pork Board started the ads in 1987 and they spent years trying to convince us that pork counted as white. Why? It would be less ridiculous if it was a scam to sell more chardonnay, but they were actually hoping our primitive ’80s minds knew some vague things about red meat risks and absolutely no other things. The campaign was like a virgin sharing a sex story — all it takes is one tiny amount of scrutiny and things get humiliating.
Unfortunately, we’d all seen ham. And bacon. And several other parts of a pig carcass that are decidedly not white. Plus, you’d have to be pretty optimistic about our stupidity to think any of these colors are how we rate food healthiness. Calling pork white seemed closer to racism than nutritional information. Also, the US Department of Agriculture has legally declared it not to be white.
These people were in charge of selling chunks of the world’s fattest land animal and they did it not by saying anything about bacon but by clusmily implying it’s healthy. If those were the greatest minds pork had to offer, it’s a wonder pigs haven’t already outsmarted and overthrown their oppressors.
What do you think was the most ludicrous? Let us know in the comments below!