The 12 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Christmas Ads
Christmas is the biggest shopping holiday of the year. So it's no surprise that companies spend every December absolutely bombarding us with ads full of cheerful, wholesome, uplifting messages to capitalize on all that goodwill and turn it into something useful: money. And then there are the ads that seem to want nothing to do with cheer and goodwill, but rather to unsettle you someplace deep in your soul, so that you will never be "right" again. We think that's a pretty good idea because -- we don't know -- there's just something about you we plain don't like. So here, look upon these and despair:
No that's not fake. This ad actually ran in newspapers. Making things even worse: It was 1939, when the United States was still in the thrall of the Great Depression. It was a tough, desperate time, and families everywhere were slowly starving to death while facing grim choices and hard realities.
Every picture tells a story, and this one only gets worse the more you think about it. You might assume we've stumbled upon Dad's suicide note while he's off working up the nerve to make it a memorable Christmas. But notice that the note is written in the second person. That can only mean that this note is written to dad, essentially saying: "Look, we're not going to kill you. But if your failure to provide for this family makes you want to kill yourself, well, Merry Christmas. It's a Colt, so even you should be able to do this job.
Coca-Cola's Sprite Boy
Coca-Cola had been brutally pimping Santa out for years by the time this ad came out in 1948. Someone at the top decided that Santa needed a break to recover from the vicious reaming their ad campaigns had given him, so they created a sidekick. What they came up with was Sprite Boy -- a terrifying goddamn albino child with evil in his eyes clearly asking you, the viewer, to be complicit in the murder of Santa Claus by not warning him of the demon that waits for him in the darkness behind.
Griffin Boot Polish
Two things: Nipples, and Santa has hung himself.
First, let's not skirt the issue -- you can clearly see her nipples right through her shirt, and this was a boot polish ad in 1956, when even admitting you had nipples was a federal crime. We think it's safe to assume that if a comedy website in 2010 has to pixelate your 1956 boot polish ad, someone probably lost their job. It's so shocking that you almost miss the dangling boots of Santa's corpse.
There are three possible scenarios on display here: Either Santa is so scandalized that he took his own life rather than endure another moment of gazing at the demon breasts, the woman is extremely turned on by crime scenes and snuck into Santa's suicide to rub one out, or Santa is so sexually jaded that the only way he can get off is to watch a woman satisfy herself with gargantuan, ornate cast-iron dildos while he practices autoerotic asphyxiation.
Whatever the explanation, Merry Christmas, kids! Here are some tits, and Santa is dead.
Related: 15 Grossly Misleading Movie Posters
These three fine young specimens are clearly off to their annual Christmas gangbang, and the girl especially seems thrilled at the notion of becoming a human Double Stuf Oreo. Hey, nothing says "Happy Holidays" like dick from both ends.
As crude as that last paragraph is, we honestly can't think of any other circumstances where a lady in a "Sexy Ms Claus" costume winds giggling with two strapping pantsless dudes. Seriously, can you? And don't say they're her brothers because that's much worse.
Scotch Hair Set Tape
This ad is trying to encourage young girls either to look as pretty as their dolls by using the Scotch Hair Set Tape or to start mounting and displaying the heads of their enemies as a warning to others. Little Billy will stop pulling your hair for good when he gets a load of what you did to the babysitter.
It's not the fact that Santa is advertising Byrrh wine that makes this ad disturbing; it's that Santa has clearly gotten so shit-faced that he no longer feels the cold, and God has sent an angel down to ease his transition from life as he slowly freezes to death on somebody's roof.
But you know what's even worse?
Look at his sunken, withered eyes. He's clearly been dead for days. The angel came too late.
Santa died alone.
Noma Christmas Lights
DANCE, PUPPETS! DANCE FOR THE CLAUS, OR BE SLOWLY ASPHYXIATED OVER A SPAN OF DECADES BETWEEN FAT ROLLS THE SIZE OF MOUNTAINS!
Canadian Club Whiskey
"Hey guys, time for the annual Christmas lynch mob!"
"Who we gonna git these year, Bob? The Jews?"
"Nah, we got the Jews last year."
"Well, I'll you what's been pissing me off lately, Jim, and this -- this is gonna sound a little weird, but honestly? I cannot stand that fucking miller and his bullshit water wheel."
"Hell, as long as I get to watch somebody's legs kick -- I call it a Christmas well done. Let's go!"
Related: Inside The Black Market For Whiskey
Disturbing Christmas ads are not just a thing of the past: This one was released just this last year, depicting an unknown male, possibly a father/ brother/ sexual predator-who-broke-into-the-house-and-murdered-the-parents-in-their-bed, watching a child gleefully sort through the presents, still blissfully unaware of what's about to happen to him. This ad company was asked to portray childhood innocence, and it chose to do so by depicting the very last moment a young boy knew it.
Steedley Monument Works
Well, even tombstone companies need to advertise, right? It's a little odd that they'd do so on Christmas, but maybe it just shows forward thinking on their part. Not that disturbing.
But really pay attention to that wording: "Beat the Christmas Holiday Rush."
Because they get so busy, you see, with all the suicides around Christmas, that there might not even be a marker left when you go to bury your loved ones, and they will go to their eternal rest forgotten, in unmarked graves.
But then, if your loved one's Christmas list consists of "a tombstone," that should probably be treated as a cry for help rather than a prompt for retail.
Atkins Saws"Wow, an Atkins Jr. 65! Thanks, Mom! Now I can go cut that fucking cow's head off!"
Rather than include a tree, a branch or a plank of wood to illustrate the kinds of things an Atkins saw can be used to cut, E.C. Atkins and Co. opted to put two cows on its ad instead. Because seriously -- if you have the kind of kid who asks for a saw for Christmas, he is absolutely going to use it to kill animals. You don't have time for pretense, and you want your little monster to have the best, don't you?
The worst part about this isn't Santa's suicide -- that was clearly an established tradition back in the good ol' days. No, it's the loving attention to detail with which they've rendered it. Santa probably has a rifle, you know, for bear attacks, but it's not likely he's got a pistol. And if you're going to shoot yourself in the face with a rifle, that's a little awkward: You'd have to take your boot off and pull the trigger with your toe.
That floppy boot lying on the ground beside Santa is the most heartrending icon of suicide ever depicted. That's the kind of detail that you just don't make up out of nowhere. Some artist had this fantasy over and over, finally re-enacting it on paper to sell to a dress shirt company because he had to pay the heating bill and just didn't care about life anymore.
For more bastardizations of St. Nick, check out The 6 Most Horrific Ways Pop Culture Has Misused Santa Claus. Or if you're looking for gifts that are guaranteed to make people hate you, check out 5 Awesomely Bad Christmas Gifts.
And stop by Linkstorm to see how the Internet has done Santa right. (By right, we mean "horrifically wrong.")
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