In a world where talking meerkats, drumming gorillas and insurance-peddling opera singers reign supreme it's fair to say all bets are off. But even given the strange sphere adverts exist in some still manage to burrow their way into the public imagination for all the wrong reasons.
Not for the faint of heart or queasy of stomach, here's our run-down of some of the most surprisingly disturbing advertising campaigns ever.
Metz This pioneering schnapps drink gamely tackled the late-Nineties alcopop furore with one of the oddest ads of the time. Frightening visions of warped fairytale villain the Judderman have stalked our dreams ever since.
Reebok Full marks for invention to sportswear-makers Reebok here. To get a chap exercising, this advert featured a marauding gut pursuing him through the streets as the soundtrack gurgled “belly’s gonna get ya!” like a beery B-movie monster. Never mind gym membership, this sort of threat usually needs a passing superhero to take care of it.
Drench A recent entry from drink makers Drench where a man’s muddled face is rectified by a refreshing drop of fancy cordial. A nice idea. But we can’t shake the image of the sort of groaning deformed creatures you’d find in a Victorian freakshow.
Burger King Last year the US fast food giant saw fit to hurl a successful stateside ad campaign over the Atlantic. The King – an eerily omnipresent figure – wanders around spreading the flame-grilled gospel. Is it just us or does the malevolent monarch’s mask look more than a little bit like the impassive face of a cinematic serial killer? We’re surprised every time he whips out a burger rather than a gleaming knife.
Benylin This hyper-literal cough syrup advert forces a chap laid up with a cold to grapple with a diminutive Mexican wrestler made entirely of mucus. Eurgh. Even in the wildest throes of a man flu fever dream, we’ve never had to put up with anything quite as distressing as this.
GÜ The posh pudding co’s David Lynch-inspired advert features a strange surburban house, dizzyingly high production values and a bone-chillingly spooky soundtrack. OK, it’s clearly meant to be offbeat but it’s no less unsettling despite the deliberate intent. Plus they missed a trick by not including cherry pie.
Paddy Power The betting company conjured the stuff of sudsy nightmares for this tea-splutteringly odd ad. A man shares a relaxing bath with his wife only for Sheffield Wednesday legend Carlton Palmer to emerge and start spouting off about returning lost money. What could be stranger than Carlton Plamer in your bath? Jan Molby, you say. Fair point.