The advertisement features a representative of the creature or item the product is supposed to wipe out. The Talking Pest
will start by bragging about how well things are going for it. Then the product is used. Sometimes the pest is evicted, and bitterly complains as it is leaving. Sometimes it is killed, and viewers get to hear its last scream. Sometimes the Talking Pest
is cute. On occasion, it is the basis of merchandising.
The logic behind it is to convince viewers that the various insects and maladies out there are making them miserable not as a by-product of them doing what they naturally do, but rather because they just love
to piss people off. See, it brings them joy to munch on your wall studs and give you athlete's foot, so you have buy the advertised product and give 'em their due punishment!*
Of course, this can result in Fridge Logic
when you realize that showing the graphic death of an insect is more disturbing when the insect is anthropomorphized so much that it has apparent human intellect and speaking ability.
See also: Meet The Meat
- Insects in ads for Raid insecticide. Raid has been doing this for decades.
- TV Funhouse parodied this with an ad for "Attack" insecticide, taking the aforementioned Fridge Logic to its horrible conclusion: The roaches have a whole humanesque society, loving family relationships, even religion, and yet you're encouraged to inflict horrible, uncaring death upon them.
- Digger the dermatophyte, the mascot for Lamisil tablets.
- The Mister Mucus and other green blobs of working-class booger people get expelled out of human lungs in a series of Mucinex ads.
- The stain in Tide's "talking stain" ads.
- Various bacteria in Domestos adverts.
- Louie the Fly in ads for Mortein, an Australian brand of insecticide.
- Recent Nicorette ads feature a green CG imp that represents the Nicorette user's nicotine addiction.
- Burnie: Abdominal Arsonist, the new heartburn mascot for Prilosec OTC.
- Used to perfection in recent Orkin Pest Control ads, where the insects are man-sized, realistic-looking, and given the creepiest voices imaginable. In fact, it's probably too effective.
- The title characters from Karius og Baktus, a Norwegian children's book from '49, who live the easy life in the mouth of a boy who never brushes his teeth. It's widely used to teach children about the importance of brushing their teeth. Depending on the adaptation and the age of the audience, it can Scare 'Em Straight.
- The Domestos toilet cleaner ads feature talking germs that mock the house owner for never getting rid of them, until the realise the house owner is using Domestos.
- The Interactive Webcomic Awful Hospital has Dr. Phage, a giant talking virus with a huge ego and an obsession with tacky bow ties.
- Advertisements for the Polish sweet yoghurt Danio feature a creature named "Little Hunger" - an ugly, squat yellow humanoid who shows up and sneers menacingly at people, only to disappear away when they help themselves to a little Danio.
- A swiffer cleaning pad advert put a positive spin on it, by portraying various messes as lonely and lovelorn people for whom getting "picked up" by the product is a good thing for them.