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The Most Controversial Advertising Campaigns

The Most Controversial Advertising Campaigns


Here are some of the strangest advertising
campaigns ever! 9 – Nice Trunk Space
Imagine being an exec at Ford Motors. And someone at JWT India comes to you with
the idea of an ad showing three young women tied up in the trunk of a Ford car, with then
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi giving a peace sign driving! You’d say no right?! Yeah, well, actual Ford execs didn’t say
no, and they got fired over the ad! The ad triggered a massive outcry, with women’s
rights groups criticizing the company for insensitivity and outright misogynistic behavior. The ads were released in India, where politically
incorrect ads are still shown on a regular basis. Obviously the controversial ad was trying
to promote the large trunk space of the car, but……really……we’re still trying
to understand the humor angle here. Another version of the ad shows Paris Hilton
driving the car, taking out her reality TV competition, the Kardashians. After the social media uproar, Ford quickly
ordered the ad to be pulled down, and issued a formal apology stating they deeply regretted
the incident and agreed with their Indian partner that it should have never had happened,
because it was contrary to the company’s standards. 8 – Smiling Bob
Remember back in the day when we were all bombarded with spam emails that advertised
pills promising us bigger junk? Ahhh the good ol’ wild west days of the
internet! Do you guys remember the one company that
took those spam emails to the big stage? Enzyte is an herbal nutritional supplement
that supposedly promotes quote “natural male enhancement,” which is their way of saying
hey, our pills makes your junk bigger! Of course, there’s no proof or even a hint
of a suggestion that their product works. Enzyte’s effectiveness was called into doubt
and the claims of the manufacturer had been under scrutiny from various state and federal
organizations. The company basically straight up lied in
their marketing. The object of the ads was to make people think
they could make things bigger by taking a wonder pill, when the company knew that it
didn’t work. The ads were actually unintentionally, or
maybe intentionally hilarious, as it showcased a man named Bob whose life got 20 million
times better when he took the pill. But c’mon, most of us knew that the pills
don’t work. The founder of the company and his mom both
went to jail because of bad business practices! Can you guys think of an ad campaign that
had more lies than this one?! Let us know in the comment section! 7 – Keep It Clean
Back in April 2017, NIVEA released probably the most controversial ads of that year. Their facebook ad was aimed towards the company’s
Middle Eastern customer promoting a new invisible deodorant. It showed the back of a woman’s head with
long dark hair, with the rest of her body wrapped in a white robe. Underneath, the slogan stated, WHITE IS PURITY. The post was captioned with, “Keep it clean,
keep bright. Don’t let anything ruin it, along with the
hashtag, Invisible.” The ad quickly came to the attention of social
justice warriors all over the internet! Twitter was filled with people who were calling
for Nivea to fire anyone in the marketing department who approved the ad. NIVEA promptly removed the ad from Facebook,
and a spokesperson for the company formally apologized for the post. They stated that the image was inappropriate,
and that the ad wasn’t reflective of their values as a company. They also stated that diversity and inclusivity
were NIVEA’s core values, and they take pride in creating products that promoted beauty
in all forms. White’s obviously a color associated with
purity, and we don’t really think Nivea meant it the way people took it, but then
again, that’s just us! File this one under dumb corporate mistakes! 6 – Just don’t do it Not even Nike is safe from marketing blunders! Nike released a TV commercial back in 2000
that was a little too much for a family to see on TV. The commercial starred three-time Olympian
runner Suzy Favor-Hamilton. You would think having a famous Olympic runner
starring in a commercial advertising Nike’s running shoes is a sure way to resonate with
consumers, but Nike didn’t exactly do things right! The commercial had Hamilton starting a bath
in a dark spooky house. While brushing her hair, she opens the mirror
cupboard and puts her comb inside. As Hamilton shuts the mirror, there’s a
guy with a Jason mask in overalls standing behind her! As this dude rushes her with his chainsaw,
she’s able to slip out the door and outrun him because of her Nikes. Doesn’t sound that bad right? Just a commercial inspired by classic movies! Wellll the ad was banned because of the overall
mood of the commercial, which was way too serious. Let’s be honest, anytime a dude with a chainsaw
is trying to go after someone, it doesn’t exactly put people in a happy mood! After Hamilton escapes, the slogan of “Why
sport? You’ll live longer” pops up. Nike’s classic movie remake was meant to
be a throwback, but all it did was probably stir up PTSD for some people! 5 – Here’s My Social LifeLock Incorporated is an American identity
theft protection company that used an “innovative” ad campaign, so to speak. In order to prove the efficacy of its system,
LifeLock promoted itself by publicizing its CEO’s social security number. Ummmm, yeah, maybe the CEO can write off the
scams on his taxes?! Back In 2007, the Lifelock ads were seen all
over the place. CEO Todd Davis openly challenged hackers to
use and steal his identity, being confident in the fact that they could never do it. The ads emphasized their guarantee: that LifeLock
would cover all losses and expenses up to $1 million in case your identity was stolen. If there’s one thing we know from watching
enough movies about internet hackers, it’s that to never underestimate them, or egg them
on! Needless to say, Davis’s identity was stolen
several times! One man in Texas used his Social Security
number to take out a $500 loan. An AT&T wireless account was opened in Georgia
under his name and used to charge around 2300 dollars! After several lawsuits showed the inability
of the company to follow through with its promises of keeping identities safe, the CEO
answered that this only proved his company’s usefulness, as his own identity was stolen
onnnnnnly 13 times. Yeah, that’s 13 times we don’t want our
identity to be stolen? LifeLock was actually levied a 12 million
dollar fine by the FTC for deceptive business practices and for failing to secure sensitive
customer data. Yep, this company is still in business today! 4 – No new taxes
Just in case you didn’t know, Airbnb is a multi-billion dollar company that connects
people with spare housing with well, people who need housing. The company started in San Francisco and has
kept its headquarters there ever since. Back in 2015, San Francisco was about to have
a vote on Proposition F, a ballot measure that would have tightly regulated short-term
home rentals in the city. This basically was a measure that would have
raised taxes on AirBNB. However, AirBNB decided to release passive
aggressive ads that didn’t quite go as well as they had hoped. The ads were seen on bus stops and billboards
around the city, hinting that the company was pretty unhappy about having to pay $12
million dollars in hotel taxes. The ads AirBNB put out gave suggestions to
the city on what to do with the 12 million dollar tax payment. Obviously, a lot of sensitive San Francisco
residents’ weren’t amused. Let’s be honest here, AirBNB shouldn’t
have complained about the taxes they would have had to pay. Everyone has to pay taxes, and no one wants
to hear a giant company whine about taxes! 3 – Intense Business
In case you guys didn’t know, Benetton Group is a global fashion brand based in Italy. The name comes from the Benetton family who
founded the company in 1965. Benetton is known for controversial ads throughout
the years, but this one probably takes the cake for weirdest. Why a fashion group decided to do some advertising
involving political figures is beyond us but hey, it’s fashion. Benetton released a series of ads depicting
many high positioned government officials in a strange let’s just say, intimate meeting. By that of course I meant the ads depicted
world leaders in a very intense lip locking session. There was one ad showing then President Barack
Obama kissing his then Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez. Then there’s another with Pope Benedict
XVI kissing Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb…..the ads were just really weird. Benetton wanted people to embrace peace all
over the world with their unhate campaign, but c’mon, does anyone want to see world
leaders locking lips?! Benetton officials argued that they intended
the images to portray the concept of “unhate,” fostering tolerance rather than making a political
statement. Oh….that’s what that was! 2 – French Non-smokers right campaign
Back in 2010, the French Non-Smokers’ Rights Association pretty much shocked all of France
with its anti-smoking ads. Yeaaaaah, it’s not exactly a pretty scene
here! The campaign showed female and male teenagers,
either sitting or kneeling, with a cigarette in their mouths, while a man has a hand on
their heads. The caption on the ad basically means that
to smoke is to be a slave to tobacco. The campaign was supposed to help stop the
rise in smoking among 13 to 15-year-olds in France in recent years. The leader of the project for Non-smokers’
Rights, Marco de la Fuente, stated that the old argument of tobacco is bad for you just
didn’t work anymore, and the campaign’s message was that tobacco was a form of submission. Critics from feminist and pro-family campaigns
stated that the campaign was offensive and counter-intuitive. The French Secretary of State for Family Affairs,
Nadine Morano, termed the ads a public outrage to decency and vowed to ban the campaign. Following the ads, the Association of French
Families filed an official complaint with the national advertising regulators, accusing
the campaign of violating ethics rules. Heck, we might even be offended!! Okay just kidding, we’re not……. 1 – White vs Black
When it comes to advertising, Sony has had more than a couple run ins with controversial
ads. However, its white vs black PSP campaign HAS
got to take the cake. When the PSP was first released in 2004, the
only available color was black. That is, until Sony decided to spice things
up a bit and release a white version of the PSP. So what does a company like Sony do with two
different colors for a product? Have the two colors compete against each other,
duh! The images released featured a white girl
dressed in all white in some sort of combat with a black girl in solid black clothing. Since the white PSP was the newest color,
the images depicted the white girl defeating the black girl, with one ad even showing the
white woman grabbing the black woman’s chin as if she were in control of her! Sony quickly removed the ads once the controversy
started to avoid any sort of negative activity. We understand what Sony was trying to do with
the ads and the fact that it’s a Japanese company, but how did no one in the marketing
department see how this could have been perceived! Here’s what’s next!

11 thoughts on “The Most Controversial Advertising Campaigns

  1. Here are a bunch of ads….that we're not going to show you. Enjoy some irrelevant stock photos and videos instead.

  2. If you run a company you will know why people don't like taxes. Our tax rate is ridiculous as it is there is no need to tax people even more especially in California where that whole state is basically bankrupt because of their bad decisions. If they keep this up they are going to run companies out of their state.

  3. I have smoked for over 50 years and I have always found it to be a nice way to relax. People have smoked various things for thousands of years but it wasn't until commercial tobacco and all of it's added chemicals appeared on the market that people began getting lung cancer. About 8 years ago I began buying bulk tobacco and rolling my own and immediately found it to be much more enjoyable and with no signs of "withdrawal" symptoms because of ZERO added chemicals. It's the added chemicals that cause the addiction because the chemicals irritate the lungs while numbing the lungs at the same time. After 30 minutes of non smoking the irritated lungs begin hurting and the only way to numb the hurting is to smoke another cigarette which starts the process all over again.

  4. the value of video lies in the visual…all we get here is audio with images unrelated to the issue👎

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