Hi, everyone. Windier E. Megatons here. Recently, I saw an ad that got me to thinking, "What are the most disgusting ads ever produced?" Below are the top three choices that Quivering P. Landmass and I came up with from our television watching and travels around YouTube. Without further ado:
#3 - All-Bran
W.E.M.: To start with, the notion of this being a "challenge" is a little strange. "I dare you to shit on a regular basis!" But of course the key component of this ad is the way they dance around the fact that it's about shitting, like with every ad for fiber products. For something that actually aired on television, though, it seems a little on-the-nose. Compare it to Metamucil's "gussy up your insides" euphemism, for example. They actually show barrels rolling like they're tumbling out of this guy's ass. I'm okay with the dump truck, but that part is just creepily graphic.
Q.P.L.: It's pretty clear this is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but this ad crosses the line of good taste and good humor. What's most bothersome to me is the repeated jokes -- this construction worker has three metaphorical bowel movements within 25 seconds. I'm not so sure that's "regular" at that point. Also, we get the joke, guys -- stuff's coming out of his ass. Why do you keep coming to me with the same joke? Vary it up a little. And don't talk with your mouth full, either!
W.E.M.: Plus, as a construction worker, doesn't he need to be on his feet all day? I don't know if running off to the bathroom every few hours to extrude some bran by-product from your colon is going to be terribly beneficial in that line of work. And I'm sorry, the way the voice-over guy at the end says "Feel it" is just terrifying. He's really pushing all his energy into the word "feel." "You're gonna feel yourself taking a dump. I can't emphasize this enough. Here it comes, dude. Unggggh." Sickening.
#2 - Starburst
W.E.M.: When you combine this with that atrocious Berries and Cream ad, Starburst's commercials seem to follow the Family Guy method: take something that isn't funny (and that is, preferably, either gross or weird) and repeat it several times in rapid succession. Instant comedy! Say "wetsuits" again, dude!
Q.P.L.: Here's the thing about food -- it doesn't go with vomit. Or with feces, either. If you're selling candy or cereal or whatever, shouldn't you concentrate on the taste? Or the texture, or something other than toilet humor?
W.E.M.: I mean, I guess they pointed out that the Starburst was juicy, even if that's a gross exaggeration of the positive attributes of a Starburst. But they're basically tying in "juicy" with the image of a whale horking fish onto its handlers. When I'm perusing the impulse-purchase candy rack at the grocery store checkout, I doubt I'm going to reach for the candy that calls up the mental image of a beluga being sick, no matter how funny it was. Which it wasn't.
#1 - Marmite
Q.P.L.: The vomit scene lasts for more than 7 seconds in this commercial. A fifth of your commercial is taken up by an infant throwing up an impossible amount of liquid. The concept for this ad is "a child barfs after it ingests our product." Well, it's a good thing Marmite is a pharmaceutical product that induces vomiting! Oh, no, that's right -- it's a FOOD product. Everything is repulsive here: the color of the puke, the hideous sound of the vomiting, the length of the upchuck, and even the product "Squeezy Marmite" -- do you want to eat a Squeezy anything? And do you want to eat it after this?
W.E.M.: I mean, kudos to Marmite for having the stones to admit that some people find their product completely disgusting. It's certainly not a technique you could get away with in the States, I don't think. But this takes that concept way too far. It's one thing to show someone not caring for the taste; to show them throwing up as a result, even if it is just a baby, is insanity. You want people associating your product with vomit? Might as well just put the puking baby on the label and stamp every jar with "Marmite: You'll Probably Hate It." What's with the orgasmic look the mom has when she bites into the toast, by the way? I guarantee you there's no way anyone likes Marmite that fucking much, even if they can keep it down.
Q.P.L.: Yeah, I'll give them credit on the tagline. They took a risk on this ad, and I think they lost. Just one opinion. As for the mother's reaction to the Marmite itself -- I guess some people just really enjoy yeast extract created as by-products of beer brewing.
There they are, folks: the three most disgusting ads in the world, as selected by our "distinguished panel." I think these are hard to top, but if you've got an ad that made you sick, feel free to volunteer your disgust in the comments.