Making a good commercial is tough at the best of times, and it only gets harder when you’re on a limited budget. Many small businesses aren’t able to afford competent actors or convincing special effects, and few potential customers will be impressed by an ad that lacks both. Most businesses do their best to get around this problem, but others embrace it wholeheartedly by creating insane commercials that are remembered solely for how weird they are.
This is a car insurance commercial that addresses a problem every driver encounters at least once in their life. You’re just driving along with your friend, having a good time, when all of a sudden—BAM! A half man/half eagle creature lands on top of your car and shows you his insurance rates.
The incredibly stilted conversation that opens the ad is amazing enough, as both actresses manage to flub the simplest of lines in ways we didn’t realise were possible. But that’s nothing compared to the insanity of Eagleman himself. His creepy, drawn-out voice declares “I’ve got something… for yooooou,” but that’s not the catchphrase of an insurance salesman; that’s the trademark line of a serial killer. Those two women should be running away screaming, not marvelling over the egg (the fact that a male eagle laid an egg is the least of this ad’s problems) that cracks open to reveal great insurance rates. Insurance they wouldn’t need if Eagleman hadn’t attacked the car. Wait, that makes this commercial kind of ominous.
Is it OK to use a cartoonish racial stereotype in your ad if you push that stereotype to the absolute limit of sanity? We ask because this commercial for a Mexican restaurant features a tequila swigging bandito with a bad accent fighting foreigners alongside a tequila swigging, uh, robot. A robot named Tequila Bot that’s also dressed like a bandito. You know, because Mexico is famous for its drunken robots. Wait, no it isn’t. What the hell?
The human gets shot by gringos, and the robot is so distraught that it has to leave the old-timey war zone to visit the restaurant, where it drinks more tequila and eats a fish burger. Then there’s some upbeat music and robot dance moves. So apparently the Cantina Restaurant is the perfect eatery for grieving Mexican robots, which aren’t a real thing. Either this is the most baffling and poorly executed attempt at comedy we’ve ever seen in an ad, or this commercial is intended to be aired in the distant, racist robot filled future.
Red House Furniture
Anyone who’s ever been to a furniture store knows what a racially charged environment it can be. Sure, these days most places in America are tolerant and welcoming, but trying to go out and buy a sofa is like stepping back into Alabama circa 1960. Thankfully, Red House Furniture is a place where people of any colour can feel right at home, as this commercial makes very, very clear.
The ad is full of so much unintentional hilarity that it’s tough to pick out our favourite part. All the awkward pauses between lines are great, and they’re made even better by the fact that everyone in this commercial looks like they’re stoned out of their minds. But we think it’s the casual tacking on of “and Hispanic people too, and all people” at the end of the ad that really makes it. Seriously, is that the best selling point they could come up with? “Come buy a sofa at the Red House, we totally won’t throw you out of the store if your skin is a different colour than the salesman’s!”
Martin Fine Furniture
And now, using the exact opposite approach, witness Martin Fine Furniture’s attempt to sell couches with the wonders of xenophobia. Space xenophobia!
The ad opens with the world’s tiniest and most poorly animated UFO flying over the store. We then cut to the spokesman as he wanders around inside in an astronaut costume murdering Martians. At least, they’re supposed to be Martians, but thanks to a mix-up in the costume department they look more like whored up frogs. But either way, why is this asshole shooting them? All they’re doing is standing around and waving their arms. The last Martian does buy furniture, presumably out of fear, but we’re getting a pretty mixed message of “Come to Martin Fine Furniture for the great savings, stay because a senile old man shot you and used your body to stuff a mattress.”