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David Lynch
A still from Lynch’s Alka-Seltzer advertvia YouTube

Five of David Lynch’s weirdest TV commercials

Celebrate Christmas consumerism with a selection of super creepy adverts – all made by the master himself

In case you weren’t already aware, David Lynch really loves adverts. Whether it’s soluble diarrhea tablets or Clear Blue pregnancy tests, the avant-garde mastermind has lent his creative eye to pretty much every product you could ever think of. He’s even made a secret Twin Peaks sequel for a Japanese canned coffee company. So, in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas – you know, the one stuffed with gorging, gluttony and empty bank accounts – here’s a selection of some of Lynch’s strangest selling tactics. Who said a bit of consumerism was all that bad, anyway? 


This eerie public service announcement, filmed back in 1991, was a stark warning cry to the ‘litterers’ of New York. Featuring flashes of tiny rat hands, tails and whiskers, the advert was supposed to scare people into taking more care of their city – though to be honest, it probably just made everyone want to lock themselves inside their apartments forever. After all, that “rat king” tangle at the end, teamed with the photography direction of Eraserhead’s Frederick Elmes, truly is the stuff of your deepest, darkest nightmares.


Featuring dead fish, flames and birdsong, this 1999 commercial for swiss cigarette brand Parisienne People will probably make you never want to smoke again. It’s mysterious, dark, and includes the much-loved Lynchian trope of backward replay. And, as normal, it makes absolutely zero fucking sense. Or maybe it does? ...Does it? Who even knows.


This series of adverts for Playstation 2, titled The Third Place, play out like the ultimate Lynchian love letter – from himself, to himself. Much like his 1977 classic Eraserhead, these unsettling shorts come complete with dark humour, enigmatic shadows and highly surreal body horror. There’s also a talking duck, but whatever.


This ad, from last year, sees Lynch venture into the world of animation – rendering a seriously lo-fi cityscape to help sell $50 bottles of nail varnish. The result is both mind-bending and menacing; teaming the sharp black lids and heels of Louboutin with the LSD-like visuals of “Loubiville”. More of a murder vibe than a beauty vibe, but what did they really expect?


There’s not much more terrifying than a man squeezing his hands around a woman's head, while softly whispering about the taste of fairtrade coffee beans. Lynch knows this. It’s probably why this advert – made for his very own “Signature Cup” coffee company – ended up being crowned as Adweek’s Freakiest Ad of 2011. “I really like (my Signature Cup Coffee) very much,” he told the Huffington Post not long after the film was shot. “My friend who came over today had a decaf cup and said it tasted very good.” I'm sold.