6 Ridiculously Dramatic Commercials For Totally Normal Stuff
Great directors make serious films about tough topics. Steven Spielberg tackled the horror of the Holocaust in Schindler's List, Darren Aronofsky showed the dark side of drug addiction in Requiem For A Dream, and Robert Rodriguez showed the death of childhood innocence in The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl In 3D. But despite these varying themes, these films all held one inalienable truth to heart: When broaching a sensitive topic to the audience, don't also try to sell them a new washing machine at the same time. These commercial directors sure could have used that advice ...
A Widow Bonds With Her Son Over His Dead Father's Love Of McFish
In this scene from a British McDonald's ad, a boy is sifting through a box. He finds an old watch, a stern pair of glasses, and a notebook -- all mementos from his deceased father.
He runs downstairs to his mother, and asks her what he was really like, this wonderful man who owned both glasses and notebook. To set his mind at ease, she talks about all the ways he's nothing like him. Dad was tall and strong, with big hands ...
Dad was always dressed nice and had shiny shoes ...
Dad was great at sports ...
Clearly, he was nothing like this ugly hobbit we're stuck with. Then the pair arrives at a McDonald's for a quick bite, but instead of telling her son that his dad was a much better chair-sitter as well, she remarks that he was a fan of the very same Filet-O-Fish the kid has chosen.
Finally, a link to his dead father. As he wipes the tartar sauce from his face and dreams of all the father/son moments he could've had talking about their shared love of breaded fish, his mother looks at him and finally realizes "Yes, thanks to this sandwich, they are exactly the same."
For some reason, the British public wasn't a big fan of an advert exploiting the pain of widows and fatherless children to hawk buns filled with processed fish guts. McDonald's took the ad down and apologized for its tone-deafness. Then they made a commercial about how when you get right down to it, French fries are just like 9/11.
A Dying Man Forces His Son To Be His Wife's New Lover In This Chicken Ad
This ad for Jollibee (the Philippines' premier KFC knockoff) begins with a young lad setting up a Valentine's Day surprise. He's receiving instructions from his dad over the phone. It seems like the kid is going the whole nine miles for his middle school crush, as his dad tells him to smush rose petals on the floor and buy a dozen red balloons to signify his love. It's a lot more than the cardboard Batman we jammed into someone's locker at that age.
Then he's instructed to get a bucket of chicken, the international dish of love, because it's his "momma's favorite." Oh, so the dad is just using his son to do the legwork for his own Valentine's Day surprise? Dick move, right?
"NO SON OF MINE PREFERS BOOBS! YOU'RE A LEG MAN AND THAT'S THE END OF IT!"
But then, the mood shifts. We see the mom, who's looking surprisingly haggard and sad -- and this is a fast food chicken ad, so we're already grading on a curve. When she enters her local Jollibee to get her chicken fix, she's then led to her Valentine's Day surprise upstairs.
But the real surprise here is terminal illness.
Surprise! The dad's dying! Now who's up for some of those delicious thighs? Dying Dad announces that he won't be around for another Valentine's Day, but that from now on, their son will be her date. If she didn't know her husband's stance on her remarrying after his death, she sure does now.
Then they eat the chicken, presumably in terrible, terrible silence.
A German Supermarket Advises You To Fake Your Own Death To Teach Your Kids A Lesson
This ad from German supermarket chain EDEKA starts with a lonely old man listening to the voicemails of his children all saying they're too busy to make it to Christmas that year. So after spending the holiday eating his dinner alone, he decides that the next time his kids want to skip Christmas, they'll have to do it over his dead body.
The next year, instead of getting Christmas invitations, the family receives funeral announcements. Their father / grandfather / creepy uncle has died. Everybody is devastated.
Under the saddest of circumstances, the family comes together on Christmas to say goodbye to their beloved patriarch. But when they arrive at his home, they find a fully set dinner table. Then, like a Bond villain, the old man emerges from the shadows and says:
His grandchildren run to hug him, they all learn to appreciate their family more, and they have a great Christmas meal.
One thing the ad seems to forget: The protagonist is a dick. The ad clearly shows that his family wasn't being selfish; they were all busy working and making sacrifices to live their best lives. One of them was a doctor, working in a hospital when he got the news, and another seemed like he was somewhere in East Asia. They had to put their lives on hold to arrange the funeral of their father, probably horribly heartbroken for most of the Christmas season. Hell, his very young grandchildren probably had to be told what death was before they got dressed in black to go bury their grandpa! No wonder no one wanted to spend Christmas with this old bastard.
Kodak Thinks They Can Cure Homophobia (And Paralysis?)
In this 2016 advert for Kodak cameras, a little girl catches her brother making out with his boyfriend. His father (who's in a wheelchair) and mother have a problem with this, and by the look of the boy's sweaty Adam's apple, he knows it.
This reveal absolutely tears the family apart. But then, while the father is rummaging through his boy's bedroom, clearly searching for more gay evidence, he stumbles upon a happy selfie that the two boys took with a Kodak camera. Because smartphones were never invented in the Kodak Universe.
By the time of the boy's birthday, dad has a gay surprise of his own: a nice framed picture of the kid and his boyfriend. Oh, also when they hug, the wheelchair-bound father stands up to demonstrate the true healing power of love (and Kodak).
Yes, miraculous healing is a hasty side note in the margins of schmaltzy commercial melodrama.
Pantene Released An Arthouse Film About Overcoming Adversity By Having Shiny Hair
This cinematic tour de force from Pantene follows a young deaf Thai girl with a dream: to play the violin. However, her classmate (a pianist) doesn't support her, screaming that she'll never be any good, and she should stop wasting everyone's time. Of course, she's yelling at a deaf person, so she's clearly not an expert on what the hearing impaired can and cannot do.
"BESIDES THAT ONE!"
The only one who supports her dream is a homeless violinist, who tells her it's good to be different. Well, unless you're someone with no aural feedback trying to master an art that's completely sound-based, then it's a bit of handicap.
But the girl keeps trying, and her rival keeps getting angrier for some unexplained reason. And then the homeless mentor gets murdered by thugs, because the stakes weren't already high enough in this, again, shampoo commercial.
On the night of the big music competition, the rival pianist crushes it, actually using her hate of a deaf girl to drive her amazing performance. With a smug look, she leaves the stage, knowing she's got that sweet $20 Yogurtland gift card in the bag. But then a last-minute contestant is announced.
The deaf violinist enters and gives a stunning performance of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, all while thinking back on her trials and tribulations. That's right, we're getting callbacks in this four-minute shampoo ad.
The song ends, and everybody gives her a standing ovation. The last thing we see is a beautiful shot of the violinist's shiny hair, and the Pantene slogan "You Can Shine."
That was a very, very long way to go for a crappy pun, Pantene.
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