Super Bowl XVIII: Top 10 Controversial Super Bowl Ads [Videos]

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By Johnlee Varghese | January 31, 2014 8:46 PM EST

There is no such thing as bad publicity. And in the world of commercials, controversies always have given a boost to the popularity of products.


Scarlett Johansson Super Bowl Soda Ad/SodaStream

This year, a Super Bowl ad featuring the sexy diva Scarlett Johansson has made it to the list of the most controversial ads. While the commercial may have brought in much controversy for the actress, the SodaStream has been gaining popularity.

You can watched the banned Scarlett Johansson Super Bowl XVIII ad here:

The 2014 NFL Super Bowl XLVIII offer companies across the world, a shot at gaining popularity. The companies can effectively promote their products and services before such a massive audience. Often these much-watched commercials create controversies for all the wrong reason.

Here is a list of banned commercials, some of which were deemed so inappropriate, that they were never aired during the game.

1. When PETA got Sexy With Vegetables

PETA's Super Bowl Commercial for 2009 created a lot of controversy with its sexy semi-nude models engaging in unspeakable acts with vegetables. The PETA ad that boldly claimed “Vegetarians have better sex,” was never aired during the Super Bowl as NBC decided to axe the ad, for obvious reasons.

2. When Pornhub tried innocence

Despite featuring an innocent looking elderly couple, this 2013 NFL Super Bowl ad was rejected by NBC, noting that it was against their company to promote pornographic ads. However, among all the other ads featured in the 2013, the Pornhub ad came across as the most decent.

Pornhub, even though got no air time in the super bowl games, the ad brought in much publicity and media attention.

3. When Ashley Madison wanted everyone to have an affair

When online casual dating and social networking company, Ashley Madison wanted to promote the company, it roped in porn star Savanna Samson for a steamy commercial. But the brand was slammed for the ad. This 2011 super bowl ad was rejected by Fox, for obvious reasons and was never aired. Until now the ad remains a topic of debate for it content that aimed to promote casual affairs.

4. When a Senator made a racist ad

Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra with her 2012 super bowl ad meant to promote her campaign. Instead she managed to bring in all the bad publicity that eventually led to her losing the senate seat by a wide margin. Marked downrightly racist for its anti-China message that featured several Asian stereotypes, Hoekstra's super bowl campaign has been deemed the worst super bowl ad ever.

5. When White Hunters went after a Black runner

The 1999 Super Bowl ad by shoe retailer Just for Feet was meant to boost their sales and image. But the result was something that the brand hadnt expected. The commercial that had four white hunters tracking a Kenyan runner across the African savanna got into such trouble that the company had to file for bankruptcy the same year.

The racist ad had the hunters tracking down the runner and drugging him, after which he was forced to wear the American sneakers. The ad was featured in the third quarter of 1999 Super Bowl and the company got lambasted from audiences across the globe.

6. When GoDaddy made domain selling sexy

The 2013 GoDaddy Super Bowl ad once again proved that sex sells. This ad for GoDaddy doesn't even remotely give out what the company sells, except for the hot woman kissing a nerdy guy. In fact GoDaddy sells domain names and web hosting, but with this NFL Super Bowl ad, it just sold the brand to the whole world. GoDaddy positioned itself as a widely known and popular brand with this 2013 ad.

7. When Not-so-Gay men kissed

This 2007 Super Bowl commercial has two very manly mechanics munching on the opposite ends of snickers bars.As they devour the chocolate bar, they end up smooching. But then just to prove that the two are straight and not gay, the mechanics put out their chest hair to assert their masculinity. The reaction, however, produced angry rebuttal from the gay community, following which Mars pulled down the ad.

8. When Tibet turned the table for Groupon

The groupon ad featuring actor Timothy Hutton ended up earning the title of the least liked ads among the 2011 Super Bowl ads. The ad starts with a plea for help for the politically repressed region of Tibet. But then the viewers realize that it’s just about how groupon can get cheap but awesome food from a Tibetan restaurant. The ad still continues to evoke disgust from audiences watching it on YouTube.

9. When Sketchers irked animal lovers

Over 100,000 animal lovers signed a petition to take down this 2012 Super Bowl commercial. The ad featured a bulldog, who raced along with the elite greyhounds but won the race as it was wearing the red sketchers sneakers.

Animal lovers severely came down on the company for promoting animal racing. However, despite the opposition, the ad was featured during Super Bowl.

10. When Salesgenie made racist Cartoon Caricatures

With its animated pandas mimicking bad Chinese accents, the commercial was bound to go the wrong way. This 2008 super bowl ad was severely criticized for its racism and the creator later apologized. The ad was pulled down, following the controversy.

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Scarlett Johansson Super Bowl Soda Ad/SodaStream
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