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Taco Bell & Match.Com Use Horror As An Escape in New Commercials

By Jerry Smith

Let’s not pretend that 2020 wasn’t quite easily one of the most hellish years in history. Just maintaining a semblance of normality was a massive accomplishment for us all and something that helped a lot was the escapism we’re given within the horror genre. From films like Host, Freaky, Possessor, and countless others, living vicariously via the genre was, for many, a sanctuary and a way to cope.

Seeing the need for escapism with a genre tinge, various companies used horror and genre-leaning plots and characters in their recent ads. This lets fans laugh a little while also feeling comforted by the one constant we’ve all had: that horror will always be here and alive.

We thought we’d share a few recent ads and highlight how they brought a little levity to an otherwise year from hell. Read on!

Taco Bell’s “The Craving” Ad (Featuring Sarah Hyland and Joe Keery)

Taco Bell went all out with their ad announcing the return of the previously discontinued Nacho Fries. Someone in their marketing department should get a raise, with The Craving being one of the most enjoyable ads for fries I’ve ever watched. Starring Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland and Stranger Things/Spree‘s Joe Keery, the ad follows a man tormented by the memories of the good times…when he had some Nacho Fries in his life.

Now discontinued from the Taco Bell menu, the man’s entire life is in shambles and when he takes a trip to a cabin in the woods and the fries are resurrected, we’re given homages to films like The Evil Dead, Sinister and various others genre faves. Shot like a legit horror film with Hyland and Keery eating up each of their scenes in the commercial, this one is a blast and a good escape from the suffocatingly intense world events going on. Plus, there’s no way I’m missing out on these Nachos Fries now!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR256vd5U1DbauxvcCzsm3GuxIIXcqY6TECAyyABUMqbSO9ioi4Pla4riOc&v=eQsRpKFqQcc&feature=youtu.be

Match.com‘s Match Made in Hell Commercial

Match.com’s Match Made in Hell ad took everyone by surprise when it dropped during the tail end of 2020. Featuring one lonely Satan (Bodybuilder/actor Aaron Reed, donning the “Darkness” makeup from Ridley Scott’s Legend), feeling left out and single, the ad matches the prince of darkness with 2020, personified in a care-free, “let’s party” woman played by The Affair and Blindspot‘s Natalie Roy.

The couple hit it off with Satan and 2020 having the time of their lives with picnics on empty football fields, workouts in closed gyms, and jacking toilet paper while running. The ad really shows how much of a trashfire last year was, embodied here in a literal trashfire with a couple Easter eggs as well.

Made by Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort production company, the ad also uses various Easter eggs for Reynolds’ friend TAYLOR SWIFT (all caps for me). A scooter laying down next to the trashfire represents Scooter Braun, the mogul who swooped in behind Swift’s back and bought the masters to all of her albums prior to 2019’s Lover.

Fans have been trying to get Swift to re-record the albums Braun owned as a way for her to be able to own the masters to those songs. This ad sees Reynolds giving his friend Swift’s fans something they’ve been asking for, with a small clip from the re-recording of fan-favorite track “Love Story”, showing that the previous albums ARE being recorded, taking ownership back from Braun. A deep cut found in the commercial, but there’s no way a Swiftie wouldn’t notice that!

There’s a whimsical tone to the ad, allowing us to laugh at the absurdity of the hell we all went through in 2020 and it’s a welcomed laugh.

The relationships continues in Match.com’s When Satan Met 2020 Commercial

Showing that 2020 and Satan are combined like no other, this ad shows the couple giving an update on their budding relationship. Satan mentioned that he had to trim out joy and hope before finally finding his match in 2020. 2020 says something that is in true last year fashion, that she “just wants to be remembered,” something I’m sure we will never forget.

What Match’s ads do here, is inject some humor into an otherwise devastatingly depressing memory of a year that brought so many of us to our knees. It’s a blast to watch Taco Bell and Match’s commercials and see that the horror genre has an ability to take the worst parts of our lives and dissect them in ways we wouldn’t expect.