10 of the most controversial ads in the last years
Some agencies seek to make controversial ads to get attention. Sometimes this strategy succeeds, other times it doesn’t. It also depends on the client if he is willing to take risks.
The biggest problem arises when neither the client nor the agency wants a controversial advertisement and yet it comes to the public’s attention.
The PR crisis due to a controversial ad is solved by the necessary excuses, the withdrawal of the advertisement, and a long time necessary to forget.
We chose ten of the most publicized controversial ads in the last ten years.
TurboTax Coffee Spit
Not the first time on the list.
Tesco – This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us (2021)
Add a Santa Claus with a green pass at the end of the advert…
Meat & Livestock: Lamb. The Meat More People Can Eat
Add religion in advertisement and it provoked a storm of protest from all over the world.
McDonald’s: Dead Dad
The company was accused of exploiting the feelings of children who have lost a parent. One of the most controversial adverts in the UK.
Gillette: The Best Men Can Be
The Gillette advert has received intense criticism on social media, a lot of people calling for a boycott of the brand, complaining that the ad is ‘insulting’ and ‘emasculates men’.
FirstBank: Puppy Sale
FirstBank adds a disclaimer to whom it may concern for its puppy sale commercial.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines – What is truly Scandinavian?
In this advert, there are several Scandinavian stereotypes challenged like democracy (invented in Greece), rye bread (imported from Turkey), open sandwiches (take from the Netherlands), Danish pastries (get from Austria), licorice (imported from China), windmills (invented in Persia), and both cycling (barrow from Germany).
Taco Bell: Belluminati
The advert talk about a conspiracy named … “The Belluminati”
GoDaddy: Journey Home
This controversial commercial maybe is funny as a dark comedy but some people took it as an insult.
Carnival: Come Back to the Sea
People were not happy that the ad says we come from the sea
TurboTax: Boston Tea Party
The ad mocking the American Revolution
Liquid Death: Demon Infused Liquid Death – Halloween
They use a real witch to trap real demons inside their cans of water.
Toys R Us Spain (2021)
A lot of people have been bothered by this ad which, in their opinion, sedates the guilt of parents who do not spend time with their children.