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Top 10 Scariest Commercials

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by George Pacheco These ads are NOT for the faint of heart. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Commercials. For this list, we’re ranking the most frightening, disturbing or downright creepy ads – whether intentionally scary or not – that aired on TV or the internet. We will not, however, be taking into account any Creepypastas, as those deserve a list of their own. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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These ads are NOT for the faint of heart. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Commercials.

For this list, we’re ranking the most frightening, disturbing or downright creepy ads – whether intentionally scary or not – that aired on TV or the internet. We will not, however, be taking into account any Creepypastas, as those deserve a list of their own.

#10: K-Fee


Jump scares: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Or, in the case of this series of ads for Germany’s K-Fee caffeine company, they absolutely terrify you. Many were caught by surprise when these brief, twenty-second ads first hit television screens in the mid-2000s. They depicted a calm, serene scene, such as a quiet car driving down a desolate country road. Then, out of nowhere, a screaming zombie figure leaps out in front of the screen and scares the living daylights out of the unsuspecting viewer. The question could be asked: is this method of scare tactic cheap? Yes, but it’s also very effective.

#9: Kentucky Fried Lie Detector


This bizarre 1967 commercial from Kentucky Fried Chicken is full of unnerving camera angles and odd close up shots. The plot is relatively simple: a group of ladies strap Colonel Sanders into a lie detector machine, demanding to know the secrets behind KFC’s eleven herbs and spices. Sanders is having none of it, refusing to give up the goods. This ad is shot more like a torture porn interrogation, however, complete with a laughing narrator and even a trippy animation sequence to close things out. Want more KFC madness? A similarly strange ad hit screens a year later, featuring housewives “escaping” from their homes in prison break fashion to go grab those delicious buckets of chicken.

#8: Little Baby’s Ice Cream


So, do ya love ice cream? We mean, REALLY love it? Well then maybe you’re brave enough to handle this series of ads from Philadelphia’s Little Baby’s Ice Cream. Both are absolutely terrifying, and feature a wild-eyed, crazy looking person covered head to toe in frozen confectionary. One of them, “This is a Special Time,” goes the extra mile, however, by having the aforementioned person scooping up gobs of ice cream FROM THE TOP OF ITS OWN HEAD. We’re not sure if this is supposed to bring customers in or scare them away, but Little Baby’s Ice Cream definitely got our attention.

#7: Baby Laugh a Lot


We’re guessing that Remco probably didn’t intend to scare generations of kids for life when they first released this ad for their Baby Laugh a Lot doll back in 1971. Sure, the idea of a giggling, laughing little girl doll probably seemed innocent at first, but time has a funny way of making some things incredibly creepy, and this is definitely one of those times. The ad isn’t helped by the fact that it’s seemingly being narrated by a raving lunatic who can’t stop laughing himself. The whole affair just comes across as some sort of unstable LSD trip, albeit one that’s kinda cool in its own peculiar way.

#6: Canadian Workplace Safety & Insurance Board


Most of us are familiar with highly dramatized PSAs, which are designed to either make the public aware of an issue, or to bring up something specific within the workplace. This Canadian PSA is of the latter variety, and has to deal with keeping spills away from potentially dangerous work environments. The actress starts off the ad describing how much she loves her job, and how she’s engaged to be married. Then, she slips and falls near the hot oil station, spilling a huge pan of the stuff all over her. The audience is then treated to the brief, but horrible, sight of life-changing, third degree burns as the actress howls in unbearable agony. Yikes!

#5: Fragile Childhood - Monsters


The “Fragile Childhood” campaign was a 2012 effort by the Euro RSCG Helsinki agency to raise awareness about how alcohol abuse affects young children. They did this via a creepy and disturbing ad, which shows examples of how children might view their parents after they’ve been drinking. Images featured in the ad range from a deformed bunny rabbit and the Grim Reaper to a stocking-faced carjacker, all of which stir up all kinds of emotions within the kids in their care. It’s a powerful and effective clip, which gets its message across in a unique way.

#4: Smokey the Bear… in Human Skin


Sure, this ad seems to start off innocently enough, with actress Joanna Cassidy speaking about forest safety in a manner which seems perhaps a bit erotic concerning the subject matter, but is otherwise fairly straightforward. Then, Cassidy’s face is torn away in a disturbing manner to reveal a chortling Smokey the Bear, who then states, “if you knew it was me, would you have listened?” Actually, Smokey, we might have listened, had you not TORN AWAY A HUMAN FACE to get your point across! Just makes us want to run away from the forest, screaming, to be honest...

#3: The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water


We mentioned how severe some of Canada’s PSAs can be, but the Great White North has NOTHING on the United Kingdom. “Lonely Water” was just one of a series of well-produced and highly cinematic PSAs which aired on TVs across the region, and covered everything from playground safety to traffic laws. This one might be the most memorable, however, thanks to a deadly serious narration by the Grim Reaper. He describes how easy it is to snatch unsuspecting children who are playing near unsafe water, with only the presence of smart, level-headed youth being enough to drive Death away - although not before he promises that he’ll “be back.”

#2: PS3 Baby


Sony’s PlayStation 3 was first released in North America back in 2006, and this launch naturally featured tons of supportive advertising. However, it’s hard to imagine this oh-so-strange ad doing anything but hampering Sony sales figures at the time. The brief clip features the manipulated image of a baby doll, viewing the PS3 within a stark, white room. The baby cries tears of what we presume are joy while making some of the most unholy sounds we’ve heard since Baby Laughs a Lot. It’s unsettling, it’s unnerving, and it just might be more memorable than the PS3 itself.

Before we name our number one scariest commercial, here are a few horrific honorable mentions!
- Kinder Surprise Nightmare Fuel
- Phones 4u Gets Ghostly
- You Cannot Beat Us! Nintendo

#1: Autoway Tire Ghost


We opened up this list with a jump scare, so it’s only fitting that we close our time together with one, too. This time, a Japanese Tire manufacturer decided to go the extra mile by boosting the production value and film quality to create a stark ‘n snowy scene right out of a horror film. The ad even comes equipped with its own warning beforehand, as a first-person driving sequence becomes the site of supernatural terror, complete with a terrifying ghost girl bursting out from nowhere. We can’t imagine what audiences felt when they first saw this ad, but we’re guessing it caused more than a couple of panic attacks.
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