5 Ads that Celebrate the Absurdity of Life

by Jeff Finkle , Freelance

 5 Ads that Celebrate the Absurdity of Life, by Jeff Finkle.











We seem to be living in an uncertain world of alternative facts, where Saturday Night Live spoofs no longer seem like satire but there is some comfort in embracing the humor and the fun in life. It's time to swipe away from your Facebook feed, turn off your 24-hour news channel and bring your stressed-out brain back to to a Mathew McConoughey-approved level of “alright, alright.” We hope you enjoy this trip with us into the hilarious and glorious world of ads that make us laugh and take our mind off the things we've been thinking about too much. Let's escape our concerns for a while and enjoy 5 ads that celebrate the absurdity of life.


Nando’s- “Present Moment”- Our Man In Havana

Nando’s PERi PERi and their agency of record Our Man In Havana created a fun campaign in 2016 that pokes fun at the rising trend in meditation and mindfulness. Something we should probably engage in more of nowadays. One of their digital video spots, titled “Present Moment” is as soothing as a summer’s day at the beach. The tasty looking-chicken breast floating over-head might not make you forget all the bad things in life but it surely will show you the way to avoiding the bland things in life. So when times get tough and you can’t quite access your happy place, perhaps try going to your spicy place. Now, that’s what I call enlightenment. 

Subaru- “Windshield Wiper”- Carmichael Lynch

If you love clever ads with cute dogs, and who doesn’t, then you know that Subaru is the dog whisperer of advertising and this absurdly adorable ad, titled “Windshield Wiper” has everything but the bone. If we could live in a world where dogs could drive, Labradors may not be the ones we would want behind the wheel, as they might hop out the window at the first tree they see, which is why the puppy in the child seat is such a perfect touch to the ad. Although, Labrador drivers would have a loveable nature, which would make them the least likely to experience road rage. Unless, of course, that road leads to a sewer drain filled with tennis balls. This ad has an ending that we give two paws up for and is filled with surreal goodness that will take you along for the ride.


Spotify- “Never Ending”- Wieden + Kennedy NY

 “Atreyu!...” Anyone over 35ish, should automatically be taken back to their childhood whenever they hear that name or the theme song to the film, The Never Ending Story. You don’t have to have grown up in the age of boom boxes and Rubix Cubes to get a kick out of this funny reunion of an ad for Spotify by Wieden & Kennedy, New York. There’s nothing like a loveable, flying furry beast to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. Listening to The Never Ending Story theme song should remind you of when the only things in your day you wanted to avoid was broccoli and bed time.


Adidas- “James Harden’s Inner Voice”- BBDO NewYork 

What better way to take your mind off the “real world” than to enter the surreal world of James Harden, all-star basketball player by day and hilariously eccentric spokesperson by night . This quirky ad for Adidas and Foot Locker by BBDO New York offers a look into the daily life of Harden, as he listens to his inner voice, which, belongs to none other than, Irish actor, Colin Farrell. Not only do we want to see more of Farrell telling Harden how to walk and talk but this ad has the makings of a classic buddy cop movie. James Harden’s Inner Voice will make you laugh outloud and it might just help you forget the crazier “outer voices” you hear watching the news.


Tempations- Treat Them Too- adam&eveDDB, London 

In the 1980s, we had The Breakfast Club and you can call the stars of this awesome reimagining of an ‘80s video, “The Catnip Club.” What’s not to love about a band of cats singing a version of “Don’t You Forget About Me” under the totally tubular haze that was ‘80s videos. Adam&eveDDB nailed the fashion and style of ‘80s videos so perfectly, you may think you’re watching a musical montage scene from the movie “Mannequin.” Move over Keyboard Cat, there’s a new sheriff in town and it's The Electric Furs. These cats are so bizarrely amazing they could teach Judd Nelson’s character from the teen classic film a thing or two about being cool, before raising their paws to the sky.


These 5 ads all embrace the humor and the medicinal value of embracing the quirkiness and the glorious absurdity of life. When the world stresses you out, It can’t hurt to laugh at the world and in the immortal words of Monty Python “always look to the bright side of life.”