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Uncanny Valley: Advertising
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Examples

  • this ad promoting a snack called munchsters has one of the weirdest looking sock puppet man and his dog ever.
  • A Carmax ad intentionally invokes this trope for a point. In it Basically a man stops (presumably) at a strange gas station when in a short while a small group of 1950s Style Stepford smiling gas station attendants start to wash and do the standard old "Full Service" to the car (checking oil, gas, air..etc..). The man becomes visibly unnerved by this and demands for them to stop but they don't. Now frightened the man runs out and accidentally bumps into a equally odd milkman who while some of his milk bottles (also in fifties style) are smashed to the ground all he can react with is "Oh Dear" in a equally Stepford like fashion. Finally the man runs (possibly into the bowels of Hell by mistake) screaming away from the scene.
    • Appearantly the whole point of the commercial was that our modern world is far too cynical for Good ol' fashioned "Full Car Service" and Carmax is here to ease us back into this (presumably by not hiring robots or Demons in Human form to work their Customer Service hotline).
  • This Panasonic ad..or whatever. There is just something creepy about those poodles. And the lady..I mean.. WHAT IS it with her arms and legs?
  • The "Pace of Life" advert for Playstation 2, which features regular humans animated in stop-motion. Not terrifying, but very unsettling.
    • Also "Mental Wealth" where a human/alien hybrid girl with a Scottish accent philosophizes about the human endeavour.
  • Bob, the Enzyte Man, is a real dude but he's creepy as hell with his soulless smile and perpetual wave. And the less said about his implied perpetual erection, the better.
  • The Burger King.
    • Speaking of Burger King, oh god..EAT LIKE SNAKE. For those who don't want to be scarred for life...it features a man slithering about in a snakelike fashion then UNHINGING HIS JAW to swallow a burger whole. It's..well..eating like a snake does. And I have no idea why they thought that was a good idea and would make you want to eat the burgers. The music is worthy of a Crowning Moment of Funny though.
  • Evil Dead Orville. (Orville Redenbacher popcorn.) Someone had the bright idea to use a real actor for his body, and to computer generate his head, since the original was dead and they didn't want to use his Identical Grandson.
  • Mr. Six, the dancing man in the Six Flags commercials, a disturbing looking character with an equally disturbing mask for a face. Mr. Six's true identity is Danny Teeson of Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.
  • Every single commercial in the PS3 ad campaign, but particularly the baby commercial, seen here in all its horrifying, squeal-inducing glory.
  • The plastic Duracell family, the Puttermans.
    • Even worse is the fact that they are LAUGHING after someone has basically DIED.
      • The fact that the son and father's heads bop in sync in one scene, for no ostensible reason, is rather disturbing, too. In this advert, they don't even walk, but glide along to their destination.
  • Discovery Channel's Shark Week featured a cheery young man giving the camera a broad grin. He actually would be kinda cute were his mouth not filled with SHARK TEETH. Yeesh.
  • The trailer for Alan Carr's chat show is wrong. Wrongwrongwrongwrong. FUUUUCGETITAWAY!
  • An Evian ad featured babies breakdancing to the Sugarhill Gang. Some found it cute, many found it incredibly creepy. The babies are CGI and look human except for a few disturbing features.
  • A commercial for Swedish Kavli had a baby who starts to dance after tasting their food. When the baby's body switches from real to CGI, its arms are noticeably thinner! The dance moves only made it more freaky, which is probably why this didn't run for long.
  • The Charles Schwab rotoscoped ads.
  • In the United Kingdom, Lynx deodorant ran an advertising campaign in which a grinning man made entirely of chocolate broke off pieces of himself. The advert was eventually banned for being too disturbing. See it here. They're using the same ad for the American version, called Axe. It's still damn creepy.
  • Those "Feed the Pig" commercials from the Ad Council with that grotesque Pig-Man hybrid. Being an anthropomorphized piggy bank, he has a hole in his head.
  • This TV-ad for Diet Coke, featuring creepy big-headed, big-eyed pale puppets. One thing is for sure, whoever is responsible for this, was not Genre Savvy...
  • In his debut, the Jolly Green Giant wasn't so Jolly as he was a "Robotic Moving, Maliciously Grinning Evil Green Giant".
  • Commercials for ringtones in Italy feature CGI-created Funny Animals doing Chipmunk-style covers of pop-song that are popular when the ads air. Funny animals, yeah. When it comes to humans, however...
  • The ads for Omnaris nasal spray feature a whole squad of really bloody creepy people. They look human, but the only muscles that work on their faces control their mouth.
  • This piece of Mind Screw, courtesy of Cadbury Chocolate: two expressionless children twitching their computer-generated eyebrows to music. That this ad has no direct relation to the product only makes it creepier. It received so much complaints in Hong Kong that it had to be taken down.
  • At some point, Mayflower realized nothing made you want to move out of your house faster than seeing a giant, horrifying marionette girl walking the streets of your neighborhood.
  • The crash test dummies in this Kit Kat Chunky commercial have rather unsettling facial expressions, especially at the end. Steve Madden Shoes used to feature similar images in its advertising.
  • This internet ad for Zappos.com -with its androgynous, Stepford-grinning CGI representative — is not something you want to come across late at night.
  • The "My American Girl" portion of the American Girl doll company features animated versions of their dolls, seen on this very Wiki. The dolls themselves are not creepy, but their cartoon counterparts are downright soulless.
  • Old Navy's Supermodelquins. You have the eerie over-perfect look of a mannequin and words come out of their mouth but their lips don't move.
    • This took on a whole new level of creepy during a Christmas 2010 ad, where one of the mannequins was giving sweaters to her family, including her twin brothers—one of whom was a mannequin, and one who was a real human child. One of the other mannequins remarks "now I can tell them apart"
  • The Wrightnows from the Netflix commercials may be played by real humans, but there's nothing "human" about them. Creepiest. Family. EVER.
    • That's why poor grandpa always looks so unhappy and seems to get his only enjoyment from horror movies. He's forced to be around them 24/7!
  • In December 2010, Andrex toilet tissue in the UK, well known for its long-running campaign with real life labrador pups, launched an advertisement replacing real dogs with CGI-rendered dog characters behaving like humans.
  • Early 00s CGI spokesman in German ISP T-Online's campaign, Robert T-Online
  • This UK advert for Galaxy chocolate. There's just something not-quite-right about that woman...
  • This Pedigree Dentastix commercial shows that dogs can enter uncanny valley as well. There is something horribly wrong about a dog with human teeth.
    • Smiledog?! What did you expect!!
  • Etrade babies. Their big adorable baby eyes stare unblinkingly ahead while their mouths move independently of their faces. Shudder.
  • Cheeky Bingo. What has that thing done to everyone's mouths!?
  • This 80s Kinder ad was taken off air because it scared children. I see why...
    • It was taken off the air because it gave an older gentleman a fatal heart attack.
  • This ad (on this very Wiki to be exact) for something called My Free Farm. Hm... sounds good enouHOLY SHIT WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS?!?!?!
  • This McDonald's Happy Meal ad, called Suzi Van Zoom, Suzi already looks creepy as hell, but take a look at the MONKEY when you watch it. CREEPIEST. THING. EVER.
  • The gynoid mascot used in the Svedka commercials is supposed to be sexy, but ends up coming off as more creepy than anything to some. Here she is. Ew...
  • Glamour magazine once saw fit to announce a "secret issue" for iPad with . . . this monstrosity. As if magazine covers weren't already in the Photoshop of Uncanny Horrors.
  • Max, the little CGI spokesman in Blue Tax commercials. His movements are stiff and jerky, and his face squashes when he speaks. He's usually wall-eyed. The other workers aren't much better, looking considerably more "realistic".
    • Not helped at all by the very obvious Mad Libs Dialogue when the contact information is read off.
  • Ads for Gerber Graduates have babies doing things that babies naturally should not be able to do and it is quite unsettling.
  • This Hot Pockets Snackers commercial. For a human actress, the gal playing the waitress comes off as robotic.
  • Those computer generated "children" from the McDonalds "Joy is a Gift" ad campaign. They are not cute. They're not even uglycute.
  • This ad for Spanish instant soup brand Gallina Blanca features a creepy dancing baby with a high-pitched voice. At least the ad realizes how freaky it is and has the dad mortified at the end. If you can read the comments, almost nobody likes the ad!
  • Invoked in the PSAs about Identity Theft, where people start talking with somebody else's voice. You're supposed to feel unnerved.
  • This anti-drug PSA where the eyes are very large on the otherwise typical looking people. It's supposed to represent the dialated pupils associated with being under the influence of certain drugs.
  • Speaking of eyes, there was this 90s Canadian drug PSA. The grotesque puppets (which look like a sickening cross between Jim Henson's The Muppets and The Garbage Pail Kids) invoke this enough already, but then the Lou Reed-esque drug dealer takes off his sunglasses and...
    • There's an extended version that was pulled off the air. At the end, the camera zooms into the drug dealer's EYES.
  • This advertisement for MiO, where all the anthropomorphic animals have disturbingly realistic faces.
  • An ad for Inventhelp features an actor that appears to be CG on close inspection.
  • This ad via Facebook. You could win a sculpted bust, but, with the example's frozen grin and piercing stare, would you really want to?
  • The Ticket Oak ad for Stubhub.com. Those giant green derp eyes...
  • Monticello Grand Casino (from Chile) released a nice campaign about the life of the average person. Problem is, they represent it by altering people's faces so that they look like cartoony smiles. The face keeps its normal shape, while having the features replaced. It. Doesn't. Look. RIGHT.
  • An ad on this very site for "California's Summer of Fun" (basically an ad for various Californian amusement parks) features either a teenage boy, a teenage girl, or a young boy, all with freakishly distorted facial features (eyes bugging out, mouth stretched to impossible dimensions).
  • The "Chuck E. Cheese" commercials can be very disturbing, with each incarnation of the mouse worse than the last. Take a look the original rubber suit. Weird enough, but the worst is probably the new CG incarnation. The worst part about the character may be the voice though, which sounds like it's being overlaid with three or four guys whispering the same lines.
  • This ad from the NSPCC, entitled Mask, was aimed at British teenagers and designed to represent how children cover up being sexually abused. Unsurprisingly, although the ads also ran in magazines, the TV advert was soon pulled due to the latex masks of children's smiling faces being deemed too realistic and frightening.
  • Subway's "Subprize Party" contest's website (not as much its commercials) opens with a Steadicam making its way into a Subway sandwich restaurant with everyone dancing. If you want to enter in one of the codes to see if you've won something, the camera will go to a corner of the restaurant with a group of people dancing and partying, who then all turn to stare intently at you when the music suddenly cuts out. Unlike this image, it's not a still. It's a looping video, so you see them moving and shifting about.
  • Albertson's ran a few ads featuring singing CG fruits and vegetables with human faces. The effect is really unnerving, see here [1] and here [2].
  • Audrey Hepburn has come back to life, and she's hawking chocolate bars on behalf of Galaxy. I look forward to the day I can wear a terrifying CGI mask of my favorite dead actors' faces!
  • This Johnny Walker commercial brought Bruce Lee back to life. The problem is, sometimes he looks like a video game character, sometimes he looks truly real, and sometimes... you can't tell what you're looking at. The worst parts probably are where he's in the shadows, giving him a "lurking and menacing" kind of vibe, and when he SUDDENLY JUMPS AT YOU TO TELL YOU THAT HAVE YOU POTENTIAL TO BE A "GAME CHANGER" at the end.
  • Calbee is the snack of choice for creepy dancing dogs.
  • Wonga, one of those short-term loan companies with insane interest rates, use to have puppets of old people telling you how simple their loans are. Now the puppets have been replaced by semi-realistic CGI models of the puppets making them look rather disconcerting as seen here.
  • The online ads for The Sims 3 Starter Pack, which got shown a lot on this very wiki, start off with a creepy CG vampire-like woman staring a hole through your soul every time you go to a new page.
  • This advert for Swedish furniture store Ikea. Especially the little boy.
  • This cigarette ad by David Lynch features two guys walking around in bizarre poses that make it look like they're human marionettes. Plus, the ad is being played backwards, which contributes further to the eerie nature of their movements.
  • In 2013, the detail of Mr. Clean's character model was bumped up. While he still retains a celshaded look, the enhanced detail makes him seem more realistic and therefore, more uncanny.
  • A recent run of ads from "Generation Opportunity" deliberately invoke this, where a "Creepy Uncle Sam" is depicted about to give a proctology exam or give a gynecological exam, pleading for young people to "opt out" of health insurance. The ad the group placed on Craigslist even cites The Burger King as direct inspiration for the character!
  • This commercial from Sunraysia features a baby kangaroo shilling for organic juice. Problem is, the eyes are too big, the voice is misplaced and the graphics look like a rejected Silicon Graphics rendering (a.k.a. the cg is very off putting!).
  • An advertisement for a portable exercise app called Daily Burn comes across as this due to the lighting on the actors' eyes that, whether intentional or not, make their eyes look like the home button of an iPad.
  • Dove Audrey Hepburn Commercial. She just seems so...unnatural. No, that's an understatement. Both the Audrey Hepburn actress and the car driver (the main focus of the commercial) look like literal living DOLLS. Like one of those Japanese robots you see on TV that look human, but aren't!

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