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YBNBY Hall of Fame: Ten Creepy Ad Icons


Welcome to the YBNBY Hall of Fame - celebrating the some of the best stories we've posted in the three years that we've been publishing. Continuing until new Year's Day, we'll be reprinting those pieces that brought us the most traffic.

YBNBY was started at an ad agency, and many of the writers have worked in that industry at one time or another. So it's not surprising that one of our most trafficked pieces is a love letter to the ad mascots that haunt our dreams.


Head On - Apply Directly to your Forehead
Head On - Apply Directly to your Forehead
Head On - Kill your parents
Head On - Join Us
Head On - Apply Directly to your Forehead

Yup...I taped it and slowed it down 500 percent, and that's what I heard. Meanwhile, a headache-curing product called Head On is permanently fused in my long-term memory, but I have no idea what Capital One is, or why David Spade hits a fat guy every time he says "yes" at the Capital One plant. So, what's the better spot?

And what's the deal with creepy commercials, anyway? Or more to the point, creepy advertising icons. For every cottonelle puppy that skips across the screen, there's a really twisted king on vacation from my last nightmare, or staring in a window offering someone a whopper with cheese...and the weird part is that he's the one kicking ass. So much so, that McDonalds tried to creep out the clown in defense. What? Do we like hearing sales pitches from mental facility escapees? Or is it just that it takes Freddy Kruger to "break through the clutter" (God, I hate that phrase). Anyway...seemed ripe territory for a list, so I put together ten of the creepiest icons in adland history, as a tribute to messed-up art directors everywhere...enjoy.

PS: One last thing. After I finished, I looked back and realized...Holy Shit, this would be the best Real World house MTV could ever dream of. There's gotta be a way we can make that happen.

10) Crazy Eddie
Let's start with a legend. You know Crazy Eddie. We all know Crazy Eddie. His prices were IN-SAAANNNNNE, and he'd nearly jump out of the tv to prove it. Only it was years later that we'd all find out the Crazy Eddie chain was so crooked, they were probably using the money they should've used to buy that guys meds to pay off the cops, instead. Can you imagine if we had 3D tv back then. I remember I'd always ask my dad...Father, is that guy nuts? And dad would slap me, and we'd laugh and laugh and...

9) The Brawny Guy
Ok, he's cooked a great meal. He's even baked a birthday cake, and he's in the kitchen, waiting with puppy in hand, for...his WIFE??? Are you friggin' kidding me. The Brawny guy's in the closet deeper than my high school diploma. He shares a locker back there with Tom Cruise and the American Idol dude. A woman's perfect man? Are you high? And look, nothing against gay guys...got alot of gay friends...whatever you do in the privacy of your own blah, blah, blah. But you know it's guys like Mr. Brawny that troll Facebook looking for 12 year old dates for the Village Parade. And I'm pretty sure that's at least a misdemeaner. Someone's gotta help this guy before he snaps. And for God sakes, ladies...get a clue.

8) Everyone that lives in Mentos World
I remember when the Mentos commercials first came on. You needed to watch them like, two or three times to figure out if it was you or them. Then you'd go through this whole thought process thing...Do they know how weird these are? Are they making fun of other weird commercials? Is there a place in Europe where people really act like this? Is this some sort of plot? Are those people that all wore Nikes actually dead? What country did the nazis they didn't catch go to? You know what, I still don't know what the deal was, and all the Foo Fighters videos in the world won't make them seem any less freaky. If anyone's ever spoken with the people that made these spots, I think the entire planet would love to know just what the hell they were thinking.

7) Mother Nature
Back in the 70's there was a woman on tv who told me it "wasn't nice to fool Mother Nature". Back in the 70's there were also about a dozen nuns at St. Mary's Institute in upstate New York that made me stay after school two or three times a week for various petty crimes. (Look, Sister Margaret, I won that money fair and square.) I don't know, maybe this one's a little personal. But you try wearing a hunter green courdoroy blazer to school for four years, and see if the butter commercials don't start freaking you out, too.

6) The FedEx Fast Talker
Many people don't know this, but when he wasn't driving his co-workers insane on the phone, the FedEx fast talker actually operated a meth lab in Fresno, California. What do you think all that "Peter would be perfect in Pittsurgh" and "Dick have you done the deal with Dave" crap was? In the early 80's, one out every two FedEx letters that left the Memphis hub was going to someone that absolutely, positively needed it the next day, or they'd scratch through their own arms to let the bugs out. If I ever do a top ten closet speed freaks in tv history list, guess who number one is?

5) The Evil Easter Bunny
I'm just sitting there, enjoying the Super Bowl, checking out the commercials in between trips to refill my chili bowl. Oh that's cute, he's talking to a bunny. Wait, is there something..what the hell is up with...what is that thing? What rejected Lewis Carroll novella did he hop out of? And wait, is that Santa? Why is he dressed in black? Did he get attacked by that Spiderman alien crap? And what's with the emaciated unicorn? What the fuck is in this chili, anyway? Dear Emerald people, your nuts suck! Sincerely, Jellio (By the way, I did try them, and they really do suck. I don't know how you screw up nuts, but they found a way)

4) The bugs that live in my toes
Ever since I started seeing these guys, I've got the cleanest toes on the planet. Thanks for the head trip, buddy. And you don't limit the assault to just tv, do you? You slimy little parasite. You attack me all over the web, as well. Because I just love watching insects lift toenails to about a 45 degree angle, and then crawl under and start digging a foxhole. I'll bet you've got a deal worked with the fast talking asshole. It's not bad enough that we're being invaded by bed bugs. I've gotta worry about toe-gremlins. And here's the most annoying part. Lamisil has just what I need to fight these beasties. That is, if I don't mind diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence (love that one), rash, itching, hives, and liver abnormalities. But it will clean my toes, right?

3) This Freak
Do you really wanna know what he's packing, because I sure don't. And you know what, I especially don't need to know on Sunday morning...while I'm enjoying my McGriddle and Hotcakes combo platter...trying to figure out why Tim Russert is soft-balling Condi Rice again. NO!!! I don't want to know why every guy in the neighborhood has such a limp and lifeless garden hose, while your geraniums are the happiest on the block. NO!!! I don't need to see your shorts floating in the pool again. Who's buying your god-damned pants anyway, and why do they keep slipping off? Jesus, I'm content with the size of all my appendages. SO GET...THE FUCK...OFF MY TV...NOW! (And what kind of name is Enzyte, anyway?)

2) The Burger King
Sure, we've already mentioned the king, so you knew he'd be here. And don't forget his buddy, the devil's poultry, himself. (You wanna know how'd I like it, how about decapitated.) Thing is, I think the king represents a watershed moment in advertising. With the success he's brought to BK, I think this creepy thing is just kicking into high gear. You saw how McDonalds responded. And have you seen the Quaker Oats guy lately? Yup, this is gonna get worse before it gets better. And his highness would've taken the top spot, if it weren't for...

1) Cookie Puss
Oh Cookie Puss, when you pranced around the tv in Carvel World, you scared the shit out of children all across the tri-state area. For those unfamiliar with the creamy goodness, Cookie Puss was a delicious ice cream treat made in the 70's by Tom Carvel, the visionary who also gave us Fudgy the Whale (I think you can still buy them today). But the best part of the Carvel spots was hearing Cookie Puss speak. He had a voice like those ringtones that adults can't hear. Then Tom Carvel would come on, with his three-pack-a-day growl, for the hard-sell. See, it's the ying and yang of it all that made it so special. Mr Carvel, bless his soul, is no longer with us. But to this day, at birthday tables all across the five boroughs, you can still hear ten year olds turn to their mothers and say...Mom, what the hell is that?

And THAT, Children...is how Cookie Puss beat the King.

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