Creepy, unsettling and downright scary, we round up TV’s most frightening ad campaigns. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Okay, so we all know the basic idea behind an advert – to persuade the viewer to buy whatever product that’s being featured, right? It can be done in a variety of different ways, from having famous faces plug the merchandise, as Pepsi often do, or a sickly-sweet emotional appeal, like any John Lewis advert ever, to using a really (REALLY) annoying catchy jingle, à la Go Compare or We Buy Any Car – you name it, it’s been done.

But perhaps the most effective method – at least in terms of really having an impact on your audience – is to scare the bejesus out of people. Forget scary costumes, haunted houses or horror films; this Halloween, we guarantee it’s these truly terrifying adverts that are going to be giving you nightmares.

Playstation 3 Baby

Babies are scary – fact. Horror films are packed with creepy baby ghost voices, and let’s not forget that infamous scene in Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor hallucinates a baby crawling on his ceiling. So thanks, Playstation, for taking the motif and making it that much worse by adding the twist of a demonic plastic baby doll. A few years later, Playstation actually released another advert, this time featuring a businessman called Victor, who had an eerily-realistic baby’s head attached to his adult body.

Little Baby’s Ice Cream Man

Little Baby’s Ice Cream got the Internet screaming in horror this summer with their ad depicting a man made of ice cream staring into the camera as he eats bits of his own head with a spoon, with a forbidding narrator spouting lines like “This is a special time… ice cream is a feeling”. Just to make sure that you really don’t sleep for the next month or so, the brand were considerate enough to release another advert, this time featuring Ice Cream Man about to eat miniature versions of himself sitting in cones (complete with the insane, wide-eyed smiles of members of some cannibalistic cult).

Erm, chicken?

We think this ad is for some sort of ground chicken product, but we’re not entirely sure. Regardless, with the ad’s sinister, 80’s-style soundtrack, cutaways to rank churned meat and aggressive repetition of the word “Kana”, it’s guaranteed to put you off chicken (and women, probably) for the next 50 years.

Baby Laugh-a-Lot

Quite possibly the scariest campaign for any kid’s toy ever in the history of advertising, Baby Laugh-a-Lot features a demented doll laughing like a thing possessed (which it probably is), bewitching a coven of innocent children to cackle along with it – even the narrator falls under her demonic spell. HAHAHAHAHA! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! HAHAHAHA!


In a show of less-than-subliminal advertising, Nintendo’s army of crude, pixellated creatures repeatedly threaten the viewer, “You cannot beat us”, in decidedly scary digital voices as a boy with a gun fails to beat a video game. It’s the sign of things to come for humanity’s future – Skynet has become active.

Words: Charlotte McManus


About Charlotte McManus

Editor for and Freelance writer - The Creator's Project, SUPERSUPER!, Don't Panic, FAULT, Flux, Who's Jack & more.

Posted on 24/05/2013, in Culture, Radar and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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