Ninety-eight percent of advertising is predictably, often painfully safe. Is the opposite any better? Not always. But it gets points, at least, for not being formulaic—for trying to surprise viewers, for better or worse. There’s lots of better, and a few examples of worse, on this list—our annual dive into the year’s freakiest commercials.
Several of the ads border on genius: the animated Australian train-safety PSA, for example, and the epic Danish public-transportation ad. There’s the self-consciously weird and the just plain inexplicable. There are zombies, singing eggs, air-guitar-playing fetuses and genderless self-eating humanoid ice-cream creatures.
Unlike years past, when we showcased many PSAs, this year there are only two—although one of them is freaky enough to come in at No. 2. The top spot on our list, in particular, is an interesting case—a crazy, unapproved spot that was subsequently embraced by the brand and helped it attract a whole new generation of fans. In all, it’s a good snapshot of some of the year’s strangest marketing.