It's hard to think of one thing that 2020 hasn't morphed into some weird-ass topsy-turvy version of itself. And that includes stories about advertising. A review of the Ad Age news archives confirms that 2020's penchant for the utterly bizarre has touched seemingly every part of the industry.
The following 30 news headlines pack so many absurdities and humorous plot twists that, in any other year, you might assume they had been lifted straight from the The Onion. But in 2020? Well, they are just par for the course.
To make things even more interesting, we've thrown in one real Onion headline. Can you even spot it, though? Click on the headlines to read the full stories—and have fun with these!
1. Panera Bread hires Phyllis from ‘The Office’ to handle French Onion soup fallout
2. MeUndies wishes its new ‘Harry Potter’ line would magically disappear
3. Walmart pulls guns off shelves as precaution ahead of election
4. Publicis and Heineken debut a new agency model, based in an Amsterdam bar
5. Amazon fake reviews reach holiday-season levels during pandemic
6. Suggestive Kraft Mac & Cheese campaign vanishes after backlash
7. How Burger King used cow farts to take over Twitter
8. What brands can learn from sex workers and erotic filmmaking
9. GM’s ventilator effort goes haywire with Trump turning on CEO Mary Barra
10. Crock-Pot is dead. Long live Crockpot
11. Corona says consumers aren't confusing its brand with the Coronavirus
12. Jon Lovitz is getting paid to hate puppies and pitch senior dog toys
13. Is ‘Friends’ becoming the new ‘Star Wars’?
14. Cardi B interviewed Joe Biden for Elle magazine. Because, sure, why not?
15. T-Mobile says it's now the second-largest carrier. Forrester analyst says that's 'bunk'
16. Battle over Elsie the Cow is settled, clearing KKR’s Borden path
17. Bosses are panic-buying spy software to keep tabs on remote workers
18. Budweiser's puppy returns to lure drinkers back to bars
19. Burger King says self-driving cars know to slow down for its signs
20. Colgate reviews branding for its 'Black Person Toothpaste' in Asia
21. Disposable urinals are summer's new 'it' item as consumers avoid public restrooms
22. Wendy's brought its attack on frozen beef into the world of Fortnite
23. The founders of Saturday Morning look forward to when it no longer needs to exist
24. Where the ad world's top execs are not going on vacation this summer
25. Steak-umm emerges as a surprising voice of reason during COVID-19
26. Lincoln Project immediately releases series of ads calling for Biden impeachment
27. Jigsaw puzzles are having a moment, but good luck finding one
28. Time Out New York temporarily rebrands as Time In New York
29. Starbucks taps Brady Brewer as its next chief marketing officer
30. TikTok looks to reassure Madison Avenue talent who could soon work for Walmart