Freak Week: The Odd Couple

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Adolf Hitler and James Dean are strange enough ad stars on their own, given that they died eons ago, and one was a mass murderer. But here they are fused together into a single evil, rebellious being in a new ad from South Africa! The bizarre image was created by ad agency Jupiter Drawing Room for client CNA Stores, a retailer of books, movies, music, video games and more. The point is that CNA has a great selection, so you can pick up, for example, a book on Hitler and a movie starring Dean at the same time. Four other ads in the series feature similarly creepy hybrids: John Lennon and Albert Einstein; Prince Charles and Buddy Holly; Queen Elizabeth II and Mother Teresa; and Bill Gates and Elvis Presley. The deceased among them must be rolling over in their graves.

Also from South Africa (what’s up down there?) comes a bizarre strip-club billboard that references, of all people, Caster Semenya — the local sprinter who underwent gender testing after winning a major race in August. The ad shows a naked woman and the groan-inducing headline, “No need for gender testing!” The club’s owner only made matters worse by saying of his strippers, “I did a test on them, I am a professional, and they are 100 percent women.”

Last week’s best sarcastic ad-industry video involving robots came from a site called Xtranormal, which allows users to type in dialogue which cartoon characters then act out. In the clip, a client robot offers a demeaning brochure job to a graphic-designer robot. “My friend’s daughter-in-law picked some nice curtains for her house,” the client bot says, “so I thought I could show her your ideas, and she could make some suggestions. She is really good with color and things like that.” To which the designer replies: “I am going to cut you wide fucking open, you prick.” The whole thing is worth a watch.

Also last week, we came upon yet another parody of Apple’s “1984” ad, though this one distinguished itself by turning the famed ad against its creator, with Steve Jobs cast as Big Brother. The spoof was put together by DoubleTwist, a software that promises to put “your iTunes library on any device,” and was warmly received in the open-source community, which has long resented Apple’s “walled garden” approach to its devices.

Best of BrandFreak: Drink up, nourish your sex glands

The writers at AdFreak’s sister blog, BrandFreak, are experts on weird beverages, and they unearthed yet another bizarre concoction last week. It’s called, simply, “Adult,” though it contains no alcohol and also has no sugar, caffeine, preservatives or carbohydrates. What it does have in spades, if you believe the marketing behind it, is the ability to boost your sex drive. Ted Chao, president of the U.S. People Foods & Beverages Co., which makes Adult, says the beverage “nourishes the sex glands” and “increases sexual health by stimulating healthy production of sexual hormones and glands to combat sexual exhaustion, debility and chronic fatigue.” What’s the secret ingredient? Well, there are many. They include horny goat weed (Herba epimedii), Wolfberry fruit (Fructus lycii) and other ingredients taken from the recipes of a 19th-century Chinese herbalist. Lest you think Dr. Chao is a one-trick pony, he also created a companion drink called “Lady,” an elixir that allegedly helps reduce PMS symptoms with the combination of saffron, aloe and motherwort herb. It also supposedly has anti-aging benefits, promotes blood circulation, enhances kidney and liver functions, and helps reduce weight and alleviates acne. Drink both Adult and Lady, and you might just live forever.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: October 4, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT