Chile’s first shot at Oscar gold comes in the form of a comedy-drama that revisits the marketing campaign that helped oust Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1988. Directed by Pablo Larrain, No stars Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal as René, a hotshot ad guy enlisted by the opposition to spearhead the “No” (that is, anti-Pinochet) campaign. Employing rainbows, imagery you’d find in 1980s Pepsi commercials, and the tagline “Chile, happiness is on its way,” the opposition’s ridiculously lightweight messaging appears to convince the country’s majority that “no” is the way to go.
The “no” campaign got us to thinking about other risky and ridiculous political commercials that are so bizarre they could be mistaken for Saturday Night Live sketches, but which, despite that, were taken seriously in their day. Below, browse a selection of other ads we can’t believe actually aired — and, in some cases, helped sway an election.
This gem from Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign against Hubert Humphrey appears to embrace the fringe of American youth, and features Jerry Garcia wearing an American flag hat. Do you think the Grateful Dead frontman approved this ad? Likely not. And if he did, we’re betting he rescinded his support after Nixon declared war on drugs in 1971.