If Mad Men has taught us anything, it's that the best ad campaigns are created by drunken, borderline sociopathic con men with an inability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. So it should come as no surprise that sometimes, while thinking of new ways to sell shit on TV, their minds go to some dark fucking places. What is surprising is why a major company, with a vested interest in not scaring the hell out of potential customers, would have green-lit any of these commercials:
6Mattel's Whispering Doll Will Drive Your Children Insane
Via YoutubeThe Idea:
The year is 1965, Mattel's Chatty Cathy is one of the best selling dolls in the market, and the company is busy trying to think of ways to sell the same shit under a new name. "I've got it!" someone exclaimed. "A doll that whispers secrets! How could that possibly end up being anything but adorable?"The Horror:
See, this is what happens when you let a Chatty Cathy doll with a defective voice chip direct a commercial. The ad starts with an innocent child waking up next to an innocent baby doll -- everything seems perfectly normal, until the camera zooms in on the doll's face as its lips open and it whispers in an unholy voice, "Is anyone else awake?"
"Good. Now show me where mommy keeps the knives."
"Her lips really move!" the announcer says, as if trying to distract us from what we just witnessed. Another zoom into the doll's stoic expression brings another whispered phrase -- we know it says, "I want to tell you something," but our ears still can't stop hearing "I want to kill you some day." Indeed, we'll continue hearing those words long after we've turned off the computer and gone to bed.
"All must burn. All must perish. Also buy more Barbies."
Even in the face of this horror, the girl just smiles and whispers back at the doll, her mind no longer her own. If the ad continued for another few hours you would see her skin turn plastic, her eyes stop moving, and a "Made in Japan" label appear on her back.
"But Spot is my brother's doggy ..."
"Insolent child! You will do as I say!"
This is the point where the narrator desperately reminds us that this is a product one can buy, before the doll's face returns one last time to address you directly: "I know a secret. Do you?" We know a bunch, Baby Secret, but probably none that compares to the mind-destroying truths contained within that hollow plastic skull.I like to sleep with you," which suggests this is actually a Chucky-type situation. Anyway, the whispering doll was discontinued after Mattel discovered no one actually put the talking chips inside.
5Kleenex Wipes (for Japanese Baby Ogres)
Via YoutubeThe Idea:
When you are a universally known brand like Kleenex, you can't just slap a new soundtrack to the same commercials and expect them to work well in every country -- you have to tailor-make your ads to the tastes and sensitivities of each nation. That's why in 1986, Kleenex created two ads specifically for Japan: The first one showed a little angel girl playing with Kleenex tissues, and the second one, well, um ...The Horror:
We guess the idea of this commercial was to celebrate the bond between mother and child, which is a nice enough sentiment. It's unfortunate, then, that they decided to set the ad in a parallel dimension where demons have enslaved humanity and forced us to raise their ill-begotten spawn as our own.
That horn must've stung like hell during delivery.
In the ad, the ruby-skinned Toddler of the Damned sits with arms crossed, clearly displeased with his human mother/servant-for-life. Knowing how cruel her child can be when not entertained, the woman desperately casts about for something that will save her soon-to-be-flayed-off skin.
Changing diapers full of brimstonse and snakes must be a chore.
With most of civilization reduced to a barren red hellscape, the woman has little choice but to turn to dark magicks for her salvation. She reaches for a Kleenex , the only brand allowed by the dark overlords (because even demons masturbate), and levitates it through the ether.
You'd think anyone tough enough to raise Baal Jr. would be able to hang on to tissue.
Meanwhile, all through the ad a lone voice sings a pleasant English song ending with the lyrics, "It's gonna be a fine night tonight / It's gonna be a fine day tomorrow" ... but we know it's not true. We know it will never again be true, after watching this commercial. In fact, the next time we see the Kleenex logo, we'll probably start weeping right awa- Why, you Don Draper-ing geniuses!
By the way, in Japan this ad was the subject of an urban legend claiming that everyone who watched it died mysteriously (huh, probably should have mentioned that before). That's right: even the Japanese thought it was too creepy.