When you think of the all-time greatest terrifying clowns of pop culture, you can’t overlook the evil clown-doctors from Peewee’s Big Adventure and Pennywise from the Stephen King nightmare-maker, It, but the number three slot was kind of wide open. Not anymore.
A new ad for Hungarian herbal tea Herbaria plays like the finale of some ultimate horror movie mashup. It starts with a devilish clown, a grim reaper type, and someone modeled on Leatherface–who committed the Texas chainsaw massacre, all dunked into the ocean, not unlike a trio of teabags. (This comparison will prove abundantly apt by ad’s end.) After a series of quick cuts and the time-honored shrieking violin orchestra, our villains are all drowned in the murky depths–you know, the same way you drown fears with iced tea? It’s almost too obvious a connection.
Created by agency Jung von Matt/Neckar, the ad takes bold advantage of Europeans’ more laissez-faire approach to advertising. American brands might be hesitant about parents’ reactions to the prospect of their kids being subjected to clown murder at any time of day. The fear of having to console a child who can’t sleep is one that probably can’t be alleviated by herbal tea.