Top 20 banned commercials that you would not believe were ever made

Top 20 banned commercials that you would not believe were ever made

One of the best ways to advertise your business to the masses is to create a commercial. Commercials guarantee a wider reach than most other advertising means. However, commercials get are subject to serious scrutiny before they get aired. Therefore, advertising agencies and other entities that create commercials must oblige to a set of rules created to protect the consumer base from receiving incorrect or dangerous information. Banned commercials are those that are taken off air for violation of the set standards.

banned commercials
Collage of mature woman making an announcement through a megaphone. Photo: We Are
Source: Getty Images

Apart from showing off their products, many brands use commercials as an opportunity to stand out. A good commercial should be simple, educative, suggestive, and most importantly, capable of holding the viewer's attention. Unfortunately, many commercials have gone wrong in their bid to persuade their prospective customers.

Banning commercials that do not meet the quality standards has rid the airwaves of inappropriate content. Unfortunately, sexism, racism, stereotypes, and overly graphic descriptions are only some of the offensive takes by some brands. Other commercials only become inappropriate over time.

Top 20 banned commercials

If you still watch commercials, you may wonder how bad one must be for it to be banned. Worry no more. These banned adverts will give you a glimpse of why they were banned. Some are funny, while some are downright horrifying.

1. Jeno's frozen pizza

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In the 80s and the 90s, one classic film trope was scenes where a no-nonsense man encounters a ditzy female amid a meltdown and calms her down. However, this commercial took it a step too far.

The detective, clad in a trench coat, kicks down the door, resulting in the woman screaming until she realizes he was there for dinner. As he explains why the frozen pizza will be easy to make, he hits her twice with the box to convey his point. Unfortunately, the commercial did not age well.

2. Groupon

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In 2011, Groupon had a Super Bowl commercial that did not sit well with many. While many commercials go for a lighter note, many more try a more heartfelt note. However, Groupon decided to do both.

In 30 seconds, the ad opens with a sombre intro, talking about how the lives of the Tibetan people were in danger. It then shifts to encouraging people to save money on fish curry in a Tibetan restaurant located in Chicago. Using the plight of Tibetan people in a commercial did not go down well with viewers.

3. Who would Jesus hate?

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A small company tried to get a commercial approved for the 2011 Super Bowl and pushed the envelope with this one. The ad features a Jesus bobblehead glaring at a Barrack Obama bobblehead until Obama falls into a fishbowl. Then Jesus smiles. It joined the list of many other banned Super Bowl commercials that never got to the screen.

4. The Flintstones – Light One Up

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In which year were tobacco commercials banned from network television in the United States? In 1970, any commercial depicting tobacco use was banned from TV and radio airwaves.

However, even before this happened, this ad was still controversial. It featured cartoon characters who were mainly viewed by children advertising cigarettes. When were tobacco commercials banned? After 1970, it had become uncommon to see any advertisements promoting tobacco consumption on TV.

5. Gillette

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In 2019, the razor company Gillette made an ad imploring men to be The Best That Man Can Be. Gillette did the two-minute ad to stand with the #MeToo movement. Unfortunately, it backfired. Many questioned the company's commitment to the cause. There were concerns that Gillette did the ad to boost sales and not for the movement.

6. Pepsi

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This Pepsi ad was banned for appearing completely tone-deaf while wading into political waters. The ad features Kendall Jenner and several others marching against injustice. The ad shows her posing for photographers as the banner-filled protest marches by behind her.

Ultimately, the crowd reaches a stand-off with the police. Jenner walks through the crowd and hands one of the officers a can of Pepsi. The cop takes a sip, and the crowd erupts in joy. The ad was taken down and accused of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement.

7. National Airlines

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These days, not many people know about National Airlines. However, in the 1970s, it was one of America's top airlines. This was until it was acquired by Pan-Am airlines. It featured a young lady saying in a not-so-subtle tone, "I'm Judy. Fly me." The obvious sexual connotation did not sit well with the burgeoning women's liberation movement.

8. Nando's – The last dictator standing

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In a move many still question, this chicken restaurant decided to feature some of the most notorious dictators in the world for sales.

The ad features fake Robert Mugabe, Colonel Gaddafi, Mao Zedong, and even Sadam Hussein. It then suggests that Mugabe (who was still alive) is upset that his fellows have been removed from power, leaving him with no one to share his chicken with.

9. Clothing drive – Bud Light

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What is the most inappropriate commercial? In this stunning super bowl ad, an office clothing drive promised one Bud Light for every piece of clothing donated. It shows office workers donating all their clothes, thus remaining nude. Although the nudity is censored, the ad was reported to be uncomfortable and pulled from television.

10. Big Mac commercial

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While regulators banned many adverts on this list for offending the public, Big Mac's case is one of the exceptions. The advert was created around the character Mac Tonight, a piano dresser dressed in black with a crescent moon face and glasses. Though the ad was harmless, the estate of singer Bobby Darin accused McDonald's of ripping off the song Mac The Knife.

11. Hyundai – Hiding a Fling

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In this commercial, an older woman is driving with her younger lover when she sees her husband driving in a different car. She puts the passenger seat back so her husband won't see her lover. At the end of the commercial, it is revealed that the husband was also hiding a man in the passenger seat.

It is unclear why the ad was banned. Fortunately, it is one of those youtube banned commercials you can find online.

12. PS Vita – Everybody's doing it

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This ad was banned for being too suggestive. In the commercial, a doctor claims that viewers are "doing it" more often than is healthy. By "doing it", she is referring to playing on Sony's handheld PlayStation, Vita. The ad also reportedly conveyed false information, another reason it was banned.

13. Tango

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This Tango ad is one of the funniest ads to get banned. It features a man painted in orange going up and slapping another man who just opened a can of Tango. Tango is an orange-flavoured soda sold in the UK. After its release, there emerged an epidemic of viewers slapping each other. Predictably, this ad brought wild success to the company.

14. Tampax

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Tampax attempted a commercial where it would host a talk show to advertise menstrual products. The Tampax ad was widely complained about and ultimately banned in Ireland for being offensive. In a fortunate twist, the ban was even more frowned upon than the commercial was. Nevertheless, many other viewers did not see anything wrong with the ad.

15. Nissan Tiida

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This commercial starred Kim Cantrall, one of the best 90s actresses, reprising her role as Samantha from Sex and the City. The sultry ad shows Cattrall talking to a friend over the phone about the ride of her life. Although she is talking about the car and not her latest fling, the ad still received complaints. Nissan eventually decided to get ahead of the scandal and pull the ad down themselves.

16. Inappropriate shaking – For Goodness Shakes

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This ad implies that the men are doing something inappropriate in public places. Their movement while shaking their protein shakes was meant to inspire laughs from their audience. However, it was labelled inappropriate for TV and was quickly scrapped.

17. SmartBeep – A flatulent first date

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In this commercial, a woman who thinks she is alone in the car while her date is still outside decided to let one rip. Unknown to her, his friends are already inside the vehicle. The censors at FOX took issue with the commercial and had it banned.

18. Wodka Vodka

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In this 2011 Wodka Vodka ad, a woman promises her husband that she will clean the house and cook a nice dinner while he is at work. It is then revealed that she forces male clients to do her chores. Either the racy content or the depiction of a woman placed in the traditional role may have earned the ban. Also, it is unclear what the ad has to do with vodka.

19. Burger King

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In 2010, a Burger King ad was scrapped from television and radio airwaves for advertising information that is too sensitive. It features a clown terrorizing kids as they eat their burgers.

20. Philadelphia Cheese

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This cheese ad was scrapped for promoting harmful gender stereotypes. The ad shows two dads in a coffee shop with a conveyor belt delivering cheese-based products snaking around the shop floor.

The dads get distracted by the cheese and absentmindedly place their kids on the belt. Fortunately, the kids were unharmed. Nevertheless, the ad was banned for supposedly making dads look like less capable caregivers.

What are some banned commercials? These commercials were banned from being depicted on TV because they broke regulations. Some of the banned commercials are hilarious, while others are not.

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Country music is a string-accompanied American popular music associated with the so-called cowboys. The genre has made itself millions of fans for its sweet melodies and because it is simple in form and harmony.

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