The world has seen some strange drones, ranging from cat-litter-scooping drones to a Star Wars snowspeeder drone. But nothing can prepare you for the sheer peculiarity of the sunscreen-pooping seagull drone that stars in an ad for Nivea kids' sunscreen.
The ad starts off innocently enough with a joyous beach scene of families playing in the sand and kids who don't want to stand still long enough for their parents to apply sunscreen. Then it veers into some weird Cronenberg-esque world where Nivea builds a seagull-shaped drone and flies it over the beach, pooping out blobs of sunscreen onto children below, who then gleefully rub it into their skin.
The bird is a modified remote-control airplane with floppy little yellow legs dangling off the back. The Nivea pilots use a UV camera to see which kids aren't coated in sunscreen yet and rely on that information to target the tykes as they run around the beach. Nivea refers to this process as "the hunt."
What really puts the ad over the top are the flatulent noises the seagull emits every time it delivers a load of sunscreen. It's the kind of gross-out tactic that seems to be aimed at making 7-year-olds giggle and adults cringe.
The Nivea ad narrator believes the seagull drone makes for a "fun sunscreen experience." The kids' reactions in the video seem to back that statement up, but most grown-ups will probably recoil in horror at the concept of a giant mechanical seagull squeezing out a white liquid from the sky.
According to AdWeek, ad agency Jung von Matt/Elbe entered the seagull video into the late-June Cannes Lions competition for marketing. "It's the most stupid thing I think I've seen in my whole life," said advertiser John Hegarty, a jury president for the awards, during a press conference announcing the winners. Spoiler alert: the seagull didn't win. AdWeek reports Nivea isn't interested in promoting the video, which indicates there's a sense of sanity within Nivea's in-house PR department.