Advertising is hard work. You spend all day in a smoke-filled office, having affairs and downing whiskey while the culture of your society constantly warps and changes around you and your secret inner life threatens to come out into the open…oh no wait that’s Mad Men.
Still, in real life (and the more recent present) it must be pretty hard work too – which is why it’s no surprise that the advertisers have roped in TV and film’s most memorable faces in order to sell their lesser-known products. Of course, some marriages of product/character are more successful than others – when Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy advertised Dodge Durangos last year (while also promoting the Anchorman sequel) it made sense. When Robocop went nuts for instant noodles, it was a rather different story…
Here are our picks for some of the weirdest character/advert mash-ups that have ever bumped together on the small screen.
8. Walter White (Esurance)
One of the more recent entries, last Sunday’s 2015 Superbowl ad suggested that Breaking Bad’s science teacher-turned Crystal Meth kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston) had yet another sideline – as a part-time pharmacist. I have to say, though, “not-Greg” isn’t quite as intimidating a name as Heisenberg, and the ad’s not exactly a realistic portrayal of visiting the chemist – that woman wasn’t left waiting on a stained chair for 20 minutes while Walter disappeared into the back.
7. Mr Bean (Snickers)
If you can name an action film that wouldn’t be improved by the addition of Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean (Pacific Rim; Taken; The Expendables – the list goes on) then you’re a better man than me, so this Snickers advert gets away with a lot. In fact, the only sore point is that Bean is transformed into a Kung Fu master by the consumption of his Snickers, thus returning the world to predictability and competence. Boo!
6. Darth Vader (Volkswagen)
Humouring a child who identifies with a fictional mass-murderer is always a good idea, and this Volkswagen ad shows one dad who does just that to convince his Darth Vader-loving youngster that they have dominion over the dark side of the force. It’s all fun and games until they start choking the rebel scum with their bare hands… but it is super cute, and way better than other Star Wars-themed ads (see over the page).