The Easter holiday, coming up this weekend, is perhaps one of the strangest in American culture. It has its roots in Christianity, but its main symbol is a bunny that hides eggs and candy.
Perhaps it’s only fitting that, along with these strange symbols, the holiday has produced some of the oddest ad campaigns. Here are three weird Easter campaigns that left us perplexed:
Lidl, a German-owned global discount supermarket chain, ran a series of commercials in 2014 meant to highlight all the items available at the chain. To do so, Lindl devised a series of uncomfortable video spots that showed pairs of people confessing disturbing information, while the recipient of the news was stuck on all the products purchased from Lidl. For example, in one spot a wife tells her husband that she’s thinking about leaving him for another man, while the husband’s eyes remain fixated on the settings at the dinner table. In a different spot, one man describes naked dancing around a bonfire, while the other remains focused on the Easter spread.
The campaign was meant to highlight the availability of Easter supplies at Lidl, but the theme got a little lost in the absurd conversations. It’s also difficult to keep an appetite up for Easter dinner when picturing adultery and grown men dancing in the nude. Despite being unconventional and only slightly Easter-themed, the series does have a way of sticking with you.
Nothing says Easter like dead rabbits, right? Well, that was New Zealand pizza chain Hell Pizza’s interpretation of the spring holiday. With a name like Hell Pizza, it’s a bit expected that its ad campaign would be on the darker side, and the chain is known for controversial campaigns. For Easter 2014, the chain took it to a new level. To promote a seasonal holiday pizza made with rabbit meat, Hell Pizza put up a billboard covered in real rabbit pelts.
Unsurprisingly, the billboard caused an uproar from animal rights activists and offended consumers. The restaurant explained its thought process and activities in a post on its Facebook page. Hell Pizza said that rabbits are a pest damaging the New Zealand environment, and that the pelts were ethically sourced. The negative attention clearly didn’t deter the chain from utilizing animals in its campaigns. Later that year, Hell Pizza ran a video and outdoor campaign claiming it was holding all of Australia’s kangaroos for ransom. The ads threatened to put the beloved animals on pizza unless some ridiculous demands were met, like “Give us Tasmania” and “Let us play state of origin.” Hell Pizza has been living up to its deviant name.
High-end French sex shop Dorcel Store found a way to insert its sultry business into the Christian—therefore traditionally conservative—holiday. For the Easter holiday in 2013, the store came up with the idea of chocolate sex toys, running a few whimsical ads around the topic, but didn’t actually create the toys.
Last year, Dorcel Store took it a step further by actually producing a line of chocolate sex toys. To accompany the new Easter-themed line, the store ran ads with cheeky phrases like “Enjoy yourself without getting fat. Happy Easter Ladies” and photos of the chocolate toys with a feminine bow. The ad ran digitally and in French print press. While a bit on the risqué side, the idea was a clever twist on the classic Easter bunny chocolates.