#2. Vintage Brands Can't NOT Use Terrifying Children
I love kids as much as the next person, maybe more, because my heart is pretty big and my womb is bigger. But even I know that with the right lighting and a bad mood, kids can go from cute to creepy in a heartbeat. This explains why all the best horror movies feature children: The Omen, The Exorcist, E.T., etc. As anyone who's ever watched a Danny DeVito movie knows, just because someone is small doesn't mean they're cute. Perfectly adorable kids might turn into a Children of the Corn once you get your delicious product in front of them, which is apparently what happened in this Log Cabin Syrup ad.
You can't tell if its syrup or the blood of their enemies.
It doesn't help when your actual product is so nasty that the kid/teen/small lady in your ad is so disgusted that she's suppressing a gag as she struggles to consume it. The girl in this ad for meat paste is daring you, the consumer, to make her swallow whatever mush she's managed to keep in her mouth up this point. Look at her eyes. She hates you for doing this to her.
This was actually an ad for how suicidal mothers can get their kids to kill them and get it over with.
Dead eyes are one thing; you can kind of give the kids a pass for a having a bad day or being actual corpses whose eyes are propped open by strands of floss tied to the back of their head or whatever. For some advertisers, capturing a weird moment with a kid and sticking their name on it isn't enough. For them, the ad isn't done until they've got a tiny murderer shilling their product. If your smile is so creepy that everyone automatically assumes you've got dead bodies on your person, you might not be the best spokesmodel. Buddy, for example, probably should have toned it down a bit for Colgate.
"Buddy has a girl chained to the radiator" is more like it.
Let's say Buddy was the victim of some unfortunate phrasing. Let's imagine Colgate's first draft was "Heavens! Buddy is secretly Ron Howard!" or maybe "Jeepers! Buddy brushes his teeth with a horse brush!" Not so creepy anymore. The next ad has no excuse. Kellogg's went out of their way to find the kid version of Steve Buscemi, STARVED HIM to the brink of death, put a suit on his skeletal frame, gave him food for the first time in two weeks, and made an ad out of his pathetic reaction.
#1. Maidenform Turned Your Nightmares into Their Ads
I can list three things we can all agree on: boobs, and dreaming that you went outside your house in your underwear is a nightmare. Dreaming that you went to school or work or anywhere other than your bathroom in your panties and bra is your brain's way of saying "Not so fast, hot stuff. You're still a freaking joke, and everyone knows it." The bra manufacturer Maidenform took two of our worst fears (showing up somewhere naked and visiting new places) and turned them into a decades-long ad campaign. For example, the ad copy attached to the picture below was "I dreamed I was an Eskimo in my Maidenform bra."
Guess who? Bear rape.
The weird part was that the women in the campaigns were all thrilled to find themselves in Dali-esque horrorscapes, as if suddenly appearing in the Arctic in a bra and a slip wouldn't mean an immediate dream-world death sentence and a real-world trip to the therapist the next day. Yes, I appreciate the whimsy of the campaign, not to mention the fact that Maidenform probably Inceptioned their bras into thousands of insane nightmares, but come on. The picture below isn't an ad, it's the world's most stylish suicide attempt.
"Chief, we're on hour three of her singing Miley Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball.' We think she's a jumper."
And some of the women in the ads aren't just happy to be displaced and semi-naked. They're really happy to be displaced and semi-naked. As in sexually happy. (In their private parts.) (Where the orgasms happen.)
The hip cape makes the lower half of her body a superhero.
The best ads were when Maidenform got their signals crossed and the model didn't quite know what emotion she was supposed to convey. If you found yourself lost and half-naked on a foggy London night, you'd probably be a little concerned. Frightened, even. Or, if you're an exhibitionist, thrilled. Terror or elation would be written all over your face either way. The look you probably wouldn't be going for while missing your shirt in front of Big Ben is "sleepy."
Maybe she smells bacon?
Throughout the campaign, Maidenform depicted semi-naked women crossing the Nile, popping out of a jack-in-the-box, going to the circus, being a lady editor -- hey, wait a minute.
That one's just a little too on the nose, Maidenform.