Shed a tear for the commercial actor. It's a rough life when your career-defining role is "Extremely Satisfied Tampon User No. 3." Few escape this unique hell; even fewer climb to such fame that their early days as corporate shills are all but forgotten. Thankfully, though, Al Gore recognized this deficiency in embarrassing celebrity video/porn presentation technology and invented the Internet. Without it, we might never have seen these early performances from stars at their product-hawking finest.
#10. Brad Pitt for Pringles
Role: Person Who Is Way Too Physically Attractive to Actually Use This Product
Synopsis: There's a vague narrative about broken-down cars and white people dancing, but it's lost in the quasi-Japanese bizarreness of the whole spot. Also, "Pringles: The Fever Reliever?" We're wary of any product that could share a tagline with Junior Strength MOTRIN.
Bottom Line: Sex sells, and if sexy people like the soon-to-be Brad Pitt use a product, why shouldn't we? If only we lived in advertising land, where eating greasy chips led to slow-motion gyrations with sun-kissed members of the opposite sex. Instead, all we got was this damned deep-seated self-loathing.
Bonus Moment: The high-pitched screeching of "We've got the fever for the Pringles!" halfway through will haunt your dreams for weeks to come.
#9. Matt LeBlanc for Heinz Ketchup
Role: Joey Tribbiani
Synopsis: A young, struggling actor with limited range and no visible means of support tries to impress women by dripping condiments off his apartment roof.
Bottom Line: Besides providing further evidence that Joey Tribbiani is a real person and "Matt LeBlanc" is merely an elaborate tax shelter, this commercial proves another theory of ours: Glass ketchup bottles are the worst, most outdated invention, ever. Should it really take five stories of gravity to get a single drop of ketchup?
Bonus Moment: The flirtatious/creepy wink at the end, soon to develop into a catchphrase that we refuse to repeat here.
#8. Elijah Wood for Pizza Hut
Role: One-Fifth of the Implausibly, Clumsy Suburban Family
Synopsis: No matter how hard lil' Elijah's dad tries, he just can't cook those hamburgers! They just come out small, shriveled and unsatisfying! Oh man, I bet that's coming up in the divorce hearings! If only they'd tried this exotic "peet-zah" instead.
Bottom Line: This ad resorts to a tactic typically seen in infomercials: Make your product's alternative/competition look so inhumanly hard, that to not buy your product would border on heresy. However, since most Americans know how to take a shower or how to cook a burger without losing a limb, Wood and his family just end up seeming criminally incompetent.
Bonus Moment: The family dog's bizarre, fang-baring cameo at about 16 seconds.
#7. Sarah Michelle Gellar for Burger King
Role: Cute Little Girl Who Fucking Hates McDonald's
Synopsis: A cute Sarah Michelle Gellar discovers that McDonald's uses a pennyweight's less meat in its burgers than Burger King. Outraged, she sets out to inform the world, armed with only her crayons and a national, multiplatform marketing campaign.
Bottom Line: We have no idea why advertisers think a lisp and pigtails equals credibility. It's great that, between naptime and recess, kids like Gellar find time for consumer activism. But, do we really trust the market research of someone who just recently learned full-bladder control?
Bonus Moment: The burger comparison chart's adorably informative backwards "e."
#6. Keanu Reeves for Corn Flakes
Role: Mischievous Caterer (the best kind)
Synopsis: A young Keanu Reeves is stuck in a dead-end job, catering banquets for the leisure class. Only two things sustain him: His love of interpretive dance and how pissed those bourgeoisie cocksuckers will be when they find their caviar replaced with corn flakes.
Bottom Line: We're sorry Keanu is a wage slave whose only joy is mischievously stealing bites of cereal, but it still doesn't make us want to buy Kellogg's bland crap flakes. We refuse to eat anything that can't hold its own in milk for more than 10 seconds.
Bonus Moment: Keanu's last-minute check to make sure the coast is clear before guiltily indulging in a spoonful of dry cereal.