The 13 Scariest Ads Ever
Andy Nyman has a tougher constitution/bladder than we do. The actor, magician and horror enthusiast is the co-creator of long-running theatre play Ghost Stories and his filmography includes a role in zombie-ridden reality TV satire Dead Set. That’s why we tasked Andy and Electric Theatre Collective with venturing into the vaults to track down the scariest ads ever. When they came back, covered in cobwebs, dust and some gooey pink stuff we’re choosing to believe was not entrails, we caught up with Andy to find out the secrets of truly terrifying ads…
LBB> Some of these ads undercut the horror with a punchline - what's the key to bringing horror and comedy together?
N> Horror and comedy are natural bedfellows. The build to a scare and then the release is rhythmically the same as a set-up and punchline to a gag. The other key factor they share is that the reaction - the jump, scream or laugh, is not a cerebral reaction, it is total instinct. It just happens.
LBB> Let's talk about Little Baby's Ice Cream... if there's a weirder, more hypnotically disturbing ad out there I don't think I'm aware of it. How did it make you feel the first time you saw it?
AN> That is the most disturbing ad on the reel. It is horrible on so many levels. So simple, so creepy as an image, so odd in the voiceover. The performance is excellent and the whole notion of eating yourself into a bliss/terror state is horrible. The most disturbing thing is the notion that it works as a sale tool. I never want to eat their fucking ice-cream as long as i live!
LBB> A lot of the spots on the reel pastiche existing horror sub genres; what's the key to doing that effectively?
AN> I honestly think it has to come from a position of loving the genre. The ones on the reel that have a true sense of wit or invention are amazing, they take pastiche and move it forward. The ones that fall flat for me are the 'Phones 4 You' and 'Alton Towers', they feel like a corporate decision and simply pastiche as opposed to having something inspired going on.
LBB> Which of the spots you've included - if any - gave you a genuine scare?
AN> The only one that delivers a genuine scare/jump is k-fee car. It was one of the first 'screaming face' videos that went viral. The jump is very simple but brilliantly delivered.
LBB> Which of the ads is your favourite and why?
AN> The standard of the reel is incredibly high. Both the 'dead island' ads are amazing, beautifully made and deliver scares, wit, emotion and a clear story so elegantly. I love the 'dust devil' too, it is so perfectly made, a proper homage.
LBB> So often people talk about emotion in advertising and what they really mean is that gooey, mawkish, sentimental stuff... why should advertisers give fear a go?
AN> If you get it right a great jolt is something that can really anchor a feeling to a moment or an image. It also has a niche, outsider feel to it that can really help you speak to exactly the audience you want to target.