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Uncanny Valley / Advertising

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  • "Virtual Lara Croft":
    • A "video" was made to promote Tomb Raider III at the time of its release. It's just wrong on so many levels. Lara's face is too wide, she gesticulates with her arms in a writhing fashion while saying mundane things, and most oddly her legs are completely glued together and to the floor through the entire 3 minutes. As for the content, she breaks the 4th wall in rather awkward ways, including the infamous "...give the player more...Satisfaction!"
    • Another virtual Lara video was made to promote Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. It suffers from similar problems as the TR3 one, with Lara looking a little different than her in-game model (in this case, too thin), awkward 4th-wall breaking moments, and stiff animation. She even gets a Slasher Smile at one point.
  • This ad promoting a snack called Munchsters has one of the weirdest looking sock puppet man and his dog.
  • Advertisement:
  • A Carmax ad intentionally invokes this trope for a point. In it, 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 they stop but they don't. Now frightened, the man runs out and accidentally bumps into an equally odd milkman, who, while some of his milk bottles (also in fifties style) are smashed to the ground, can only react with "Oh Dear" in an equally Stepford-like fashion. Finally the man runs (possibly into the bowels of Hell by mistake) screaming away from the scene. Apparantly 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).
  • Advertisement:
  • This Panasonic ad shows some creepy poodles, and a lady with weird 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 really creepy with his soulless smile and perpetual wave. And the less said about his implied perpetual erection, the better.
  • The Burger King. Eat Like Snake. For those who would rather not watch this, 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. The music is worthy of a Funny Moment though.
  • Evil Dead Orville. (Orville Redenbacher popcorn.) Someone had the 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.
  • The baby commercial in the PS3 ad campaign seen here in all its horrifying, squeal-inducing glory.
  • This Fruit-to-Go commercial was definitely trying too hard with the CGI; their child character looks like he wants to murder someone.
  • 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.
  • The trailer for Alan Carr's chat show is wrong.
  • An Evian ad featured babies breakdancing to The Sugarhill Gang. Some found it cute, some found it creepy. The babies are CGI and look human except for a few 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 freakier, 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 really 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. Some people might find the pig cute, however.
  • This TV-ad for Diet Coke, featuring creepy big-headed, big-eyed pale puppets.
  • 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 songs that are popular when the ads air. The funny animals look fine. 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 many 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—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 somewhat 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.
    • That's why 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 Pedigree Dentastix commercial shows that dogs can enter uncanny valley as well. There is something horribly wrong about a dog with human teeth.
  • Etrade babies. Their big adorable baby eyes stare unblinkingly ahead while their mouths move independently of their faces.
  • This 80s Kinder ad features a very creepy realistic Humpty Dumpty. In fact, it was allegedly taken off air because it scared children.
  • This ad (on this very Wiki to be exact) for something called My Free Farm.
  • This McDonald's Happy Meal ad, called Suzi Van Zoom, Suzi already looks creepy, but the monkey takes it Up to Eleven.
    • The whole "Joy is a Gift" ad campaign in general. Those children are not cute. They're not even Ugly Cute.
    • Later on, people on social media became disturbed and creeped out when McDonalds revealed their newest mascot, Happy. Something about mixing a red boxy body, Pixar-style eyes and too-real teeth just makes it ugly, but it might, unlike before, be Ugly Cute.
  • The gynoid mascot used in the Svedka commercials is supposed to be sexy, but ends up coming off as creepier than anything to some. Here she is.
  • 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.
  • Downplayed with this ad for Spanish instant soup brand Gallina Blanca, which features a creepy dancing baby with a high-pitched voice. Lampshaded by the ad having the dad mortified at the end.
    • Worse yet: The dancing baby part is a direct ripoff from a scene in Son of the Mask (you can even make out the baby's mouth still mouthing "Hello My Baby"). A major criticism of that movie is how bizarre and frightening the baby's actions were, and this ad chose to emulate it.
  • 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.
  • Intentionally played with this Sprite commercial.
  • 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 his tolled eyes are shown.
    • 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. You could win a sculpted bust, but, with the example's frozen grin and piercing stare, would you really want to?
  • The Ticket Oak ads for That thing was creepy enough back when all its puppetry worked, but those giant green derp eyes it has now just make it even worse.
  • 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).
  • 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 Dove/Galaxy. 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).
  • 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 you have the potential to be a "game changer" at the end.
  • The recent Charlize Theron Dior ad features Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe rendered in CGI. While the first two look mostly okay here, Marilyn definitely crosses that line into the Uncanny Valley department. Her expressions and movements just don't really look all that natural.
  • 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 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 DailyBurn 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.
  • This StateFarm ad which features a talking mime and a talking baby. The baby's face is animated so poorly in an attempt to match up with the words that it falls straight down into Uncanny Valley, not to mention the strange disembodied voice that is supposed to be coming from its mouth.
  • Cravendale presents "Barry The Biscuit Boy". One'd have thought that people made of biscuits would look pleasant or even cute, but it comes of as creepy. The high-pitched voice of the narrator doesn't help either. YMMV on this one, though.
  • This ad for the loan company Sunny. Imagine the puppets from the aforementioned Diet Coke ad crossed with those from the ads. It doesn't help that the puppets work in a dimly lit office.
  • A late 2014 ad campaign by Old Spice delibearately invokes this trope. It has an android get tons of action from using their product. The android has visible seams on its joints, and speaks in a stilted Machine Monotone. In one ad, it rotates its head 180 degrees and then its face falls clean off, revealing a circuit board and making the distinctive screech of a dialup modem. The woman it's chatting up is still interested. The idea being, of course, that if even this dead-eyed, waxy, lurching abomination can Get Lucky by using Old Spice, so can you.
  • We are Nintendo. Ultimate TV game system. We challenge all players. YOU CANNOT BEAT US.
  • This 1972 ad for a company that produces life sized facsimiles of actual human beings. Both facsimiles of the couple are disturbing, with still, dead looking eyes.
  • This commercial for MTS, featuring the concept of cheap CGI and babies doing things babies can't normally do.
  • This commercial for the prescription drug Prezcobix. The designs of the people are very disturbing. Their stiff movements don't help either.
  • This disturbing Honda commercial depicts humans with cube heads. It's pretty creepy once you see it yourself.
  • The infamous "Puppymonkeybaby" ad from Super Bowl 50, with its odd animations to make it move looking unnatural and creepy. Licking one of the humans in the face doesn't help.
  • Some Brazilian ads for a company called Maganize Luiza have this 3D model doing the advertising.
  • An ad for Nectar memory foam mattress features people noting how they are now "sleeping like babies", demonstrating this by having adult heads superimposed on baby bodies. They may be sleeping like babies, but the viewers certainly won't.
  • These two adverts for the PSP which revolve around people's faces being distorted in bizarre ways.
  • All Sprite Boy ads. note 
  • A 1991 commercial for Count Chocula featured a live-action actor portraying the Count...with some frankly disturbing prosthetic makeup to have him look like a cartoon character.
  • The Vive Sin Drogas ads from Mexico are animated in CGI, but the characters are, uh, less than pleasing to the eye. The boy in particular looks pretty horrifying when he's drugged up, which is not helped by the fact that his head is cartoonishly disproportionate to begin with.
  • The "Thumbs" advert for Voxi (a mobile network) is very bizarre and disturbing. The ad starts with a meteor speeding towards a planet and crashing in a rain forest. This causes a horde of disembodied thumbs rises up out of the undergrowth, while a robotic voice intones "Give the thumbs what they want...". The thumbs then gather around the glowing meteorite from which a Voxi logo rises up, and the thumbs all convulse and jump around while the voice chants "All hail Voxi... All hail Voxi... ALL HAIL VOXI!". The creepiness probably stems mostly from the realistic looking thumbs which writhe around in a way which thumbs definitely shouldn't, though the chanting voice also adds a sort of "cult ritual" sense.
  • These three ads from Directv. The CGI puppets are supposed to look like they're using Supermarionation. To put it simply, they...don't. A better analogy would be that the puppets look as if they're using human skin as a covering. Even worse is the ad where the wife starts strip dancing in front of the husband.
  • This tourism ad for Australia features some obviously computer-generated koalas. With reports of the koala species dwindling - and exacerbated by a series of bushfires in 2019 - that particular part of the ad comes across as extra disturbing.
  • A Polish ad from 2008 for instant jelly featured a man in a rabbit costume who looks like a character from a horror film rather than a mascot meant to be appealing to kids. The ad was pulled from air when it became a subject of Memetic Mutation and replaced with a cartoony version.
  • This ad for Yogurt Skittles features a humanoid...thingy made of yogurt. His lurching movements and gait come off as quite unnatural, the fact that the "yogurt" he's made up of more closely resembles flowing slime only exacerbates his creepy almost-resemblance to a human, and then there's the fact that he takes...unwarranted pleasure in having Skittles jabbed into him.
  • In 1992, a Public Service Announcement about construction safety aired that starred puppets of rapping traffic cones with human faces.
  • This Russian ad for hemorrhoid suppositories shows a rather unsettling 3D-animated pregnant mermaid. It is shown on You Tube in 2021, while the animation looks like it was made about 15 years earlier.
    • The same channel has an ad for pancreatic enzymes featuring a 3D-animated human that is more detailed than the aforementioned mermaid, but that arguably only makes it worse.
  • In the end of 2020 New Year ads for Sberbank (now also known as Sber) brought Leonid Kuravlyov's character, a burglar named George Miloslavsky from the movie Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession, into present days, so he can try all the modern Sber's services note . While Kuravlyov is still alive, they needed the exact look and voice he had in 1973, when the movie was made. Needless to say, the deep-fake result, while familiar, still doesn't look quite right.


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