Film and TV

The Six Creepiest Food Commercials of 2011

Food commercials have been unintentionally (or, in some cases, intentionally) creeping us out since the original Ronald McDonald was introduced to audiences in 1963. That's him over there to the right, providing what would eventually become the template for John Wayne Gacy's "Killer Clown" get-up. Who wants a Happy Meal?

Sometimes, restaurants will admit when the ads their agencies crafted are just a bit too creepy, and the ads are sadly taken down. Take, for instance, the famously retired Quizno's "rats" (which I happened to think were fantastic).

Another, more timely example is last year's Jack in the Box ad that somehow equated Jack's father's erection issues with the chain's "two breakfast croissants for $3" campaign. That spot was named one of AdWeek's "freakiest ads of 2010," and -- as a result -- has been completely erased from sites like YouTube and instead replaced on TV with a comparatively boring commercial of Jack falling down a staircase. (Still not getting the breakfast croissant connection there, guys...)

But for every pulled ad, an equally creepy ad is still around on TV, forever reminding us that ad agencies are the number one consumers of LSD in America (citation needed).

6. Snickers: The best part about this creepy sharks-eating-humans ad isn't the fact that this great white liked his human best because the human had just eaten a Snickers candy bar. It's the fact that it aired right after a trailer for a movie in which a young girl's arm was eaten by a shark.

5. Coors Light: On one hand, it's nice to see that Jean-Claude Van Damme has a sense of humor (and still rocks a wicked mullet). On the other hand, I never want to think of his rock-hard...ahem...anything, ever again. Neither, I suspect, do most of the men to whom this ad was questionably targeted.

4. Gushers: My mother reads this, so I'm not going to elaborate on the varied and truly disturbing sub-genres of pornography this commercial brings to mind. In fact, I'd rather forget I ever had to watch this ad at all.

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Katharine Shilcutt