When it comes to advertising, media marketing and a bunch of creatives with their steaming brains wrapped up in cold towels, there are few things that can actually surprise us. Some time ago we presented you ten strangest ad campaigns of all times, and trusts us, they are able to come with another hundred of the craziest ideas in the same time we write this article. But how about controversial ads that got banned? Now these are la creme de la creme of advertising, as some are so silly, so weird or so revolting that they actually got banned.
Advertising is the heart of commerce, they say, but how far can you go with publicity before your ads become offensive or even illegal? Some advertising companies come up with ingeniously funny, raunchy ads that will crack you up – but you’ll never see them on television. Let’s have a look at ten controversial ads that got banned and have some fun together.
1. Y U No Learn Another Language?
The language barrier can cause a lot of funny or embarrassing situations, which is why it’s very useful to learn a foreign language. But this ad for a language school in the Netherlands took things a little too far and got banned in 2001.
2. The French and the Condom
Loathed by some, loved by others, recommended by health practitioners around the world, condoms (and contraception, generally) aren’t considered taboo anymore in most civilized countries. Unless you make an ad like the following one – which will never air on TV. This one’s a classic from France, which you may have seen floating around the Internet for a while now. Funny, when you think about it, as it seems some of the earliest documentation of a condom come also from ancient French history.
3. Explicit Electronics
The next ad on our list is one for a famous electronics manufacturer. We think it’s downright hilarious, but as it turns out, you’re not allowed to air explicit content on daytime TV, and so the clip never made it.
4. How weird is too weird for controversial ads that got banned?
The next one we look at would’ve made a great intro for a “Final Destination” movie. Sadly, it’s only a TV ad that got banned from Dutch television for, well, apparently being too spooky.
5. So… How’s it hanging?
Campaigns for soft drinks have often times been funny, creative and smart. This one went a little overboard and got banned, either because it was too explicit, or because it proves that men often times think with the wrong part of their body. And no man will ever admit to that. Period. Bad commercial, bad!
6. Don’t do drugs!
Back to the world of automobiles, we have a hilarious, and even a bit gory towards the end, one of the funniest controversial ads that got banned which comes from Australia. Because, of course, toads on drugs are not something we want to see on television (we have Youtube for that)!
7. Condoms make people ban commercials. Again
Because condoms are an endless resource for copywriters, here’s another clip for an unnamed brand. It was banned in the United States, for obvious reasons. Look away now if you’re sensitive to strong content. Which is again funny, if you think that the first rubber condom was invented by the same American who developed the process of vulcanizing rubber.
8. How can you ban a Yellow Page commercial?
Next, we look at a sample of British humor. You know, Brits have their own type of humor not everybody understands. However, many people are quite fond of it, us included. So we don’t know the reason why this Yellow Pages commercial got banned back in 2004, but it’s certainly not being aired anymore. Thank you, Internet, for preserving this little jewel for us.
9. Oh, Virgin, you’re a riot!
Idle hands are the Devil’s plaything, or so Virgin Mobile seems to think, as shown in this banned advertisement for their texting plan. Although the message is a little raunchy (and possibly offensive towards people with mental problems), we think it’s a pretty funny clip.
10. The Beer and the Chicken
Last but not least, a commercial that is cheeky, a bit funny, and focuses on the importance of beer above all else. Which is probably why it got banned in the first place; that, or because of the chicken. We’re confused actually, cause we like both beer and chicken. Go great together.
Now we hope you all had your share of fun with these ten controversial ads that god banned from one reason or another, and if you have some we don’t know about, please don’t be shy to share!