In April 2005, a German beverage company named K-fee released nine 20-second-long television commercials as part of their Wide Awake campaign to advertise their coffee drink. These commercials have been heavily criticized for their content and many feel that the adverts are very uncommercial and upsetting, though their shocking visual is built to simulate the effect that the product has on the viewer.
The commercials consist of peaceful scenes, such as a car driving down a grassy hillside to soothing music. However, at some point in the ad, the scene gets briefly interrupted by either a zombie or a gargoyle screaming at the camera, followed by the company's slogan and the product, accompanied by the fast heartbeat.
K-fee received a lot of complaints from their viewers, and soon after that, the ads stopped being aired on television. Some people say that on some other occasions, a warning message was displayed before the advert played, informing any young children, easily scared individuals, and people with heart or certain health conditions to not view the footage. However, this is unproven.
An episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, aired in April 2005, featured a segment where the audience and Jay reacted to K-fee's Car commercial. It was hosted on K-fee's official website back from 2004 to 2007 along with the other adverts. The K-fee Car commercial was also featured in 2005 on Tarrant on TV, a famous British show, as well as on America's Funniest Home Videos.
On January 29th, 2021, Rhys Lapsley (Wollstone Studios, Rhys Productions 11 on this wiki) uploaded a one-hour documentary video featuring the actors from the commercials as well as several others involved in their legacy of them.
Each commercial had both German and English versions, with the captions at the end in the respective language. There was also either a zombie or a gargoyle at the end of each advert. The zombie was played by American actor Brad Johnson, and the gargoyle was played by his brother, Adam Johnson. These ads were first aired on television on April 30th, 2005.
Commercials featuring the zombie
- Car (Auto in German): The commercial begins with a relaxing scene of a white car driving down a grassy hillside to soothing music. When the car passes behind a large tree, the camera follows. Once it pans off the tree, the car is gone. Then, a zombie suddenly pops into the scene very briefly accompanied by a frightening scream, scaring the viewer. This commercial is more commonly known as Ghost Car, Spooky Car or the Scary Car Commercial. The commercial was filmed at 36°46'09.3"N 119°15'21.9"W, which is located near Kings Canyon Joint Unified, California.
- Fishing (Angler in German): This shows a man fishing in a lake, and not long afterward the zombie appears, surprisingly not looking directly into the camera as it screams.
- Yoga: This shows a person practicing yoga on a cliff, and as soon as the person lifts their hand, the zombie seemingly appears out of nowhere, screaming. Its face is obscured by the dark. This commercial was likely filmed at Joshua Tree National Park.
- Meadow (Wiese in German): The video starts with a field of wildflowers and a pollinating bee. It then cuts to a meadow with some bicycles leaning against a large tree, and the camera stops moving at a certain point. Not long afterward, the zombie shows up from the left side of the screen and screams.
- Surfing: This is a faraway view of a person on a beach going to the ocean to go surfing. Then the zombie appears from the right side of the screen and screams. The zombie chroma key seems to be the same one used from the Car/Auto ad, but it's zoomed in. Also, This commercial is also known as Beach 3, Or Surfer.
Commercials featuring the gargoyle
- Beach (Strand in German): This depicts two lovers on a beach about to kiss, and just as they do, the gargoyle jumps up screaming from the bottom of the screen, blocking the view, with blood dripping from its mouth. K-fee Beach was filmed at Point Dume State Beach.
- Boardwalk (Weg in German): This shows a relaxing scene of a boardwalk near a beach, with a jogger in the distance who can be heard breathing, and soon stops to take a break and look at the beach. The camera then pans to the beach as well, and shortly after it stops moving, the gargoyle appears upside-down and screams. This commercial is also known as Beach 2. This commercial was filmed at Moonstone Beach Boardwalk in Cambria, CA.
- Buddha: This depicts a woman sitting in a garden, meditating near a Buddha statue. The camera briefly cuts to the statue and then to the woman, and when it moves away to its original view, the gargoyle jumps up screaming. Its face is so close to the camera that it is out of focus.
- Golf: A man is shown golfing from far away. Eventually, a faint putting sound is heard, and shortly afterward, the gargoyle appears upside-down and screams. This is the only spot that does not include any background music. This commercial was likely filmed at PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course in Palm Springs, CA.
K-fee radio advertisements
In December 2004, K-fee released four radio advertisements: Investment, Love, Relaxation and Christmas. The ads were available in English and German.
- English version (0:29): The ad starts with a man saying the following: "Would you like to know how to make more of your money? Then, listen carefully. We've got an investment tip for you that promises top returns. This investment will guarantee you a worry-free life and allow you to fulfill cherished dreams. All with a monthly payment starting from just 20 euros. All you have to do..." Then, the sentence gets interrupted by the same loud scream used in the other K-fee commercials. Then, a voice reads "Ever been so wide awake? K-fee. Canned caffeine with coffee."
- German version (0:26): "Möchten Sie wissen, wie Sie mehr aus Ihrem Geld machen? Dann hören Sie jetzt gut zu. Wir haben für Sie einen Anlagetipp mit einer Top-Rendite. Diese Anlage garantiert Ihnen ein sorgenfreies Leben. Und erlaubt es Ihnen, lang gehegte Wünsche zu erfüllen. Und das bereits ab einer monatlichen Einzahlung von nur 20 Euro. Sie müssen einfach nur..."
- English version (0:33): The ad starts with lullaby music and a young girl's voice saying the following: "Mummy mummy, how much do you love me?" Then, a woman's voice says: "I love you from here to the moon." "How far is that?" "Hm. It's so far." "Is that so much?" "Yes, my love. I love you so much. Now close your eyes sweetie, and listen while I read you a story. Once upon a time, there was a little dormouse called Piff. One day, it went..." Then, the sentence gets interrupted by the same loud scream used in the other K-fee commercials. Then, a voice reads "Ever been so wide awake? K-fee. Canned caffeine with coffee."
- German version (0:37): Kind: "Mama, Mama, wie lieb hast du mich?" Mama: "Ich hab dich von hier bis zum Mond lieb!" Kind: "Wie weit ist denn das?" Mama: "Das ist sooooo weit." Kind: "Ist das soooo doll?" Mama: "Ja, mein Süßes. Soooo doll lieb hab ich dich. Und jetzt macht mein kleines Krümelchen mal die Augen zu und hört schön hin, denn jetzt les ich dir noch eine kleine Geschichte vor… Es war einmal eine kleine Haselmaus namens Piff. Eines Morgens…"
- English version (0:49): The ad starts with the same music used in the K-fee Buddha commercial. Then, a soft-spoken woman's voice said the following: "And now, an exercise to help you relax. Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Keep your mouth shut. Feel that deep breath go down to your tummy. In, and out. And in, and out. And in, and out. And in, and..." Then, the sentence gets interrupted by the same loud scream used in the other K-fee commercials. Then, a voice reads "Ever been so wide awake? K-fee. Canned caffeine with coffee."
- German version (0:38): "Zu Ihrer Entspannung nun eine Übung. Machen Sie es sich bequem. Schließen Sie die Augen, atmen Sie durch die Nase tief ein. Der Mund bleibt dabei geschlossen. Atmen Sie tief in den Unterbauch. Ein, und aus. Und ein, und aus. Und ein, und…"
- English version (0:51): The ad starts with the sound of a clock ticking. Then, a Santa Claus voice says the following: "Ah, Christmas time again at last. And we all have such wonderful childhood memories. Pretty little crooked houses, with chimneys puffing out trails of smoke. Ha, yes. And the icicles glistening in the moonlight all around. The snow crunches softly under our feet, and when we come into the cozy warmth of our houses, the smell of delicious baked apples and freshly baked mince pies, and oh how excited we are when we finally, finally hear the sound signaling the arrival of Christmas..." Then, the sentence then gets interrupted by the same loud scream used in the other K-fee commercials. Then, a voice reads "Ever been so wide awake? K-fee. Canned caffeine with coffee."
- German version (1:02): "Aaaaach, endlich ist wieder Weihnachtszeit und wir haben wieder all die schönen Erinnerungen an unsere Kindheit im Kopf. Die hübschen windschiefen Häuselein, aus deren Schornsteinen sich kleine Rauchfähnchen kräuseln. Ach, und die Eiszapfen allüberall, die im Mondenschein glitzern. Leise knirscht der Schnee unter unseren Sohlen, und wenn wir die behagliche Wärme unserer Häuslein betreten, dann duftet es schon nach Bratäpfelchen und frischgebackenen Rosinenmännlein. Hei, wie aufgeregt wir werden, wenn wir dann endlich, endlich am heiligen Abend das Signal zur Bescherung hören."
K-fee light-version advertisements
In December 2005, K-fee released new commercials for their line of Latte macchiato drinks that parodied their prank flash-style commercials. Using the footage from three of K-fee's most popular commercials (Auto, Beach, and Golf), the company replaced the zombie or gargoyle at the end of the ad with less-frightening characters, followed by the text "Jetzt auch mit weniger Koffein." (which translates as "Now also available with less caffeine") or in the English version, "Now, without so much caffeine." and a picture of a Latte Macchiato or Latte Macchiato Vanilla bottle. The Latte Macchiato commercials were made in English and German and used the same soundtracks from the originals with a higher pitch. These ads were first aired on television on December 27th, 2005.
- Beach (Light): A smiling teddy bear (possibly a hand puppet) appears instead of the gargoyle and giggles. The piano music in the background is higher pitched than in the original version. This spot advertises K-fee Latte Macchiato Classic.
- Auto (Light): A man in a light polo shirt appears from the bottom instead of the zombie and softly says “Boo!” in an effeminate, almost teasing voice. Once again, the background music is higher-pitched, and the advertised product is K-fee Latte Macchiato Classic.
- Golf (Light): A man in a Demon mask appears from below instead of the upside-down gargoyle from above and says “Roooaaar!” in a calm voice. He can already be seen clumsily attempting to hide at the bottom of the screen before he rises. More birds are chirping in the background than in the original version. This spot advertises K-fee Latte Macchiato Vanilla.
K-fee magazine advertisements
Between December 2006 and February 2009, K-fee released multiple picture-based advertisements in magazines presumably in Germany. Not much is known about these advertisements, such as what magazines they appeared in.
K-fee has won two awards for its advertisements.
- Clio Awards 2005 (Bronze Award): K-fee's Investment, Love, Relaxation and Christmas radio advertisements. 
- Cannes Lions 2005 (Silver Award): K-fee's Car, Golf and Beach television commercials. 
- Shots Award 2004. Issue #83: K-fee's Beach and Golf television commercials.
Cast & Crew
- Director: Kai Sehr
- Actors: Brad Johnson (Zombie), Adam Johnson (Gargoyle / Batboy)
- Producer: Kai Stoecker
- Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt (Hamburg, Germany)
- Creative Directors: Costantin Kaloff, Ove Gley
- Art Director: Frank Aldorf
- Production Company: Cobblestone Filmproduktion
- Sound Design: Doublehead
- Post Production: Deli Pictures
- Copywriters: Daniel Frericks, Eskil Puhl
- Aired on the following channels: ProSieben, Kabel Eins, Sat 1
On the Internet, an alternate ending shows, instead of the product and the slogan, the text: "Now...Go Change Your Shorts And Get Back To Work!" in Arial Black instead of the normal ending; the video has gained over 12 million views as of 2018. Other manifestations of this ad include being sent as part of a chain-mail which supposedly depicts a ghost appearing during the filming of a television ad (sometimes from Great Britain); the viewer is instructed to follow the car closely, as a "mist" is supposed to appear next to the car at some point. The "mist", of course, never does appear, and the commercial plays out as described above, much to the chagrin of the viewer.
The Amazing World of Gumball
In the Cartoon Network animated series The Amazing World of Gumball (season 2) episode named "The Internet", parodies the K-fee commercials. In one scene, Gumball and Darwin appear randomly browsing the web while watching videos. Among these videos, they come across what is implied to be the K-fee Car ad.
Gumball watches the video on Elmore Stream-It, commenting on the white car driving through the hills and staring closely at the screen, when suddenly the loud scream is heard, causing him to have an intense reaction which gets recorded and posted to the web. The rest of the episode involves Gumball trying to get the video removed, which has given him unwanted fame.
The automobile (A Chevrolet Lumina), located at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car at LAX Airport, being picked up.
K-fee Car ad soundtrack.
- 34° 00′ 58.18″ N, 116° 09′ 34.27″ W
- youtube.com/watch?v=HqGsT6VM8Vg Version with alternate text.
- https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B00DI3AZDI/ref=atv_dp#btf-product-details The Internet episode.
- The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball | Uploading An Embarrassing Video | The Internet | Cartoon Network, retrieved 2018-12-26 https://youtu.be/jjq_LkeTuyE?t=19s
NOTE: The following videos contain screamers!
- Car: youtube.com/watch?v=buhMz2Bh4cc
- Car (Different Branding Text): youtube.com/watch?v=F8fy19CuDKk
- Fishing: youtube.com/watch?v=HGTsojFNm1s
- Buddha: youtube.com/watch?v=378At8DUXzE
- Golf: youtube.com/watch?v=HDGAn_KaJd0
- Beach: youtube.com/watch?v=UHhcI1569FI
- Meadow: youtube.com/watch?v=XwGJIU8eFUM
- Yoga: youtube.com/watch?v=C1GzUfmFMmk
- Surfing: youtube.com/watch?v=-JUbW0c885Q
- Boardwalk: youtube.com/watch?v=hRCXh0924qE
- Auto: youtube.com/watch?v=nAJz11chQDc
- Auto (Possible unfinished version): youtube.com/watch?v=YHYwSQlJ3FM
- Fishing: youtube.com/watch?v=5L5nLvPsb38
- Buddha: youtube.com/watch?v=n6iOXV_fHTY
- Buddha (Possible unfinished version): youtube.com/watch?v=d1mDJhkXzro
- Golf: youtube.com/watch?v=fMVzj9OVNUw
- Beach: youtube.com/watch?v=hAlz3-xtkTY
- Beach (Possible unfinished version): youtube.com/watch?v=UHhcI1569FI
- Meadow: youtube.com/watch?v=cR-hHVEw3r8
- Yoga: youtube.com/watch?v=92cAL1GEmKU
- Surfing: youtube.com/watch?v=erSh4x6VF8E
- Boardwalk: youtube.com/watch?v=aKgl9A_hsT8
NOTE: The following videos contain screamers!
- Investment: youtube.com/watch?v=y-nXSyxI7Kg
- Love: youtube.com/watch?v=Pp3fm8mUtic
- Relaxation: youtube.com/watch?v=nfYpiZ2gw8o
- Christmas: youtube.com/watch?v=HlNUI7VA1fE
Latte Macchiato (light commercials)
NOTE: The following videos do not contain screamers.
- Car: youtube.com/watch?v=Z8N0QiHc43M
- Beach: youtube.com/watch?v=EdZuqmi7-5M
- Golf: youtube.com/watch?v=31z8xaYDONA
- Car: youtube.com/watch?v=tQ6YhhfCexM
- Beach: youtube.com/watch?v=pc5n_7aPM8s
- Golf: youtube.com/watch?v=yoUgSQV6l44
This article is available in other languages.
- Finder Lurker's K-fee Parodies
- Girl on Bike
- The original scream: https://www.audiomicro.com/human-roar-comedy-cartoon-yell-royalty-free-stock-music-903173