Ad for Teddy Bears Captures the True Horror of Childhood

Your kid's only hope in the middle of the night

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Teddy bears aren't what they used to be. Seth MacFarlane's Ted made sure of that—the disgusting, foul-mouthed bum. Now, in this spec ad for German teddy-bear company Steiff, we get the opposite: a teddy-bear superhero who's ready to do battle with the fearsome night monsters who stalk your children in their dreams. The minute-long spot from director Denis Parchow shows a boy in dreamland fleeing a horrifying gorilla-type creature with an eyeless face that's little more than a giant set of thick fangs. After a false escape—waking up won't help if you haven't actually woken up—the boy is finally rescued by his Steiff teddy bear. At first wielding a simple pillow, the bear gives the monster a serious beatdown, sending him flying with one whack, and then sprinting across the bed, leaping into the air and delivering a flying leg kick that would make the WWE proud. In a world of sickly-sweet spots for stuffed animals, this one gets right inside the terror of childhood—not just reminding parents that toys offer kids emotional security, but giving a palpable sense of what it is the kids need security from (i.e., an unspoken and unshakeable dread). So, in the end, teddy bears are what they used to be—your child's only protection when there's no one else in the room who can save him.

Join Dwyane WadeJulian DuncanAndrea BrimmerRick Gomez and more at Brandweek Masters Live, on Sept. 14-17, for main stage insights, in-depth Masterclasses and more. Register now (early-bird rates expire 9/1)

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.