The pop culture ouroboros demands that everything old is new again. In a climate of mashups and remakes where nostalgia is king, it’s only natural that advertisers would turn to the annals of cinema for their next big idea. After spotting the latest in a series of film parody ads promoting Wisconsin tourism (featured after the break), we searched for the funniest spoofs that blend movies, marketing, and laughter. And, well, there might be a few we’re laughing at, not with.
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism wants to tickle your funny bone with a series of ads based on the 1980 comedy classic, Airplane!. Robert Hays and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are back in the cockpit again, reprising their roles from the Leslie Nielsen-starring film. Spoofing the Nielsen’s iconic “And don’t call me Shirley” line, Kareem also references his career with the Milwaukee Bucks. Bonus points for the inflatable pilot and bringing all the cheese.
And here’s the ad from this week.
Someone at DENHAM design studio deserves a raise for green-lighting this self-aware short. Described as “an atmosphere that is equal parts workshop, laboratory, research center and dynamic modern design atelier,” the DENHAM brand was given an American Psycho makeover by creative agency Flickering Wall in a short film tribute that premiered at Sundance in 2000. “When I first heard [DENHAM founder] Jason Denham talk about jeans it reminded me of [American Psycho’s] legendary business card scene,” director Hugo Keijzer explained. “I recognized the same manic attention to detail and ravenous appetite for craftsmanship. This triggered the idea for a modern-day remake of the scene.” Watch a group of hipsters with lush beards in expensive denim re-enact the business card and “Hip to Be Square” scene from Mary Harron’s film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis book.
At over 346,000 square feet There is no sense of direction No silence Bad cell service It’s like way too big Life in ikea is impossible.
Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III
This celebrity-filled commercial spoof for hoverboards has us wishing for a Back to the Future IIII. Website Funny or Die got Christopher Lloyd to reprise his role as Warholian-coiffed inventor Doc Brown, promoting the HUVr. Since it’s basically a skateboard without wheels, Tony Hawk stops by to take it for a test ride. The HUVr website might fool the untrained eye, but we assure you it’s (sadly) fake.
For a real Back to the Future-inspired ad, try this one from Nike starring Lloyd, Bill Hader, and Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Kevin Durant. It’s for the Nike Mag shoe.
The Color Purple and Tyler Perry’s Madea Movies
Depending on your tolerance for Tyler Perry in drag, this Color Purple parody promoting Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network could be hilarious or uncomfortable. Scratch that, it’s just plain uncomfortable. Out of all the iconic African-American characters Oprah’s Sofia could have given her famous “fight my whole life” speech to, she chose Perry’s buffoonish Madea. I just hope Spike Lee didn’t watch this.
Robert Zemeckis’ 2000 film Cast Away boasts some fine acting chops from Tom Hanks, but it’s basically a giant ad for FedEx. In the film, the Captain Phillips actor stars as a systems analyst who works for the global courier company and becomes stranded on a deserted island after his airplane crashes. This 2003 Super Bowl ad reimagines the final scene of Cast Away—except the woman answers her door.
The shipping company also traveled to Munchkinland for this Wizard of Oz parody.
If all the spine-chilling horror was removed from Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant 1980 film The Shining, it might look a little something like this. Swapping a typewriter for a computer with a shoddy browser, Microsoft’s ad for search engine Bing hits all our doom-mongery Kubrickian sweet spots.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
“Broderick? … Broderick?”
Company Dirt Devil probably used black magic to resurrect poor Fred Astaire for this commercial that spoofs the charming mop dance scene in 1951’s Royal Wedding.
If a blaxploitation film had babies with Mad Men (and who wouldn’t?), brandmakers Leroy & Clarkson’s short film Don-O-Mite would arrive nine months later. This version of Peggy Olson lacks Elisabeth Moss’ amazing resting bitch face we love, but the new Peggy’s ad campaigns will put the “whomp in your supersonic rump.”