12 Banned Super Bowl Ads That Were Too Hot For TV

These 12 Super Bowl Ads Were Way Too Racy For Prime Time

The creators of Super Bowl ads have a fine line to walk; they have to do whatever they can, without going so far that they offend, confuse, or even outrage to the point of being banned.

However, sometimes being banned can be better for an ad than being censored. In the past, a banned ad would have died in the depths of an advertising archive. Nowadays, once the ad is pulled, it goes online for a big bite of the viral cherry. Here are ten of those ads that lived again, online. 

Bud Light: Clothing Drive

Bud Light Clothing Drive
Bud Light Clothing Drive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew9cEATPzDE

Another entry for the Bud Light team, this time revolving around some very inappropriate behavior in the office. The premise is simple - someone at work is having a clothing drive, and every time you donate an item of clothing, you get a Bud Light. You can guess what happens. Everyone starts stripping off to donate whatever they're wearing. Both men and women get involved, although black bars protect us from the NSFW shots. By the end, everyone is pretty much naked, and yet somehow, sexual harassment at work never crossed the minds of the people who approved the ad. 

Snickers: Car Wash

Snickers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWsuYtI3KLE

The subject of scantily-clad bikini models washing cars is not exactly a new or even imaginative way to sell, well, almost anything. However, this effort from Snickers has a fun twist on the subject. The suggestive opening, the song, and the close-up shots of cleavage are all reasons the ad never made it to the air. But the twist - a guy making a stack of money by throwing mud over cars so they could go and get them washed (perhaps several times) - is clever. What this has to do with a chocolate bar, that's anyone's guess. 

Carl's Jr: Paris Hilton Director's Cut

Carl's Jr. Screen grab via YouTube

It’s tough to include this one, it was a blatant attempt to get publicity and online views. Then again, it did it, so you have to give them credit for that. The one time darling of the press, Paris Hilton isn’t eating up the spotlight quite like she used to. But at the time, her slender figure washing a car and eating a big burger seemed to do it for a lot of people. This one-minute version was watched by millions. 

PETA: Veggie Love

PETA. Screen grab via YouTube

It’s no surprise to see PETA in this line-up. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals don’t seem to have the same morals when it comes to women. For them, having a bunch of semi-naked women simulating sex with vegetables was perfectly OK. Licking pumpkins, masturbating with broccoli, and pouring oil over everything, the ad stated that vegetarians have better sex. Whether they have better judgment is something else. 

Bud Light: Apology Bot 3000

Apology Bot. Screen grab via YouTube

Here’s a great idea for an ad those goes out during the most watched TV broadcast of the year – a sex tape discussion. Not only is it blatantly sexual to grab your attention, it also makes the men come off like misogynistic morons, and the woman like an idiot who’ll happily forgive her man the most heinous of crimes in exchange for a bottle of Bud Light. If you partner sold your homemade sex tape to an adult website, you’d want more than a beer. 

Rolling Rock: Remember Your Cup

Rolling Rock. Screen grab via YouTube

The idea behind this ad is…well, it’s hard to say. For some reason, a batter hits the baseball and it goes on a mission to hit every man in the most painful area any man can be hit (other than a eunuch). But, those clever guys who are drinking Rolling Rock, they’re wearing cups. Does this mean Rolling Rock makes you smarter? Doubtful.  

Go Daddy: Lola

Lola. Screen grab via Hulu

It wouldn’t be a good list of banned Super Bowl ads without a Go Daddy ad. In the past, some of the Go Daddy ads had nothing at all to do with what they do as a company. This one is at least selling their service. However, having a big campy guy selling his own line of lingerie seemed to be too hot for the TV networks. Which is odd, as they were quite OK with Victoria’s Secret ads.  

Carl's Jr: Big Sausage

Carl's Big Sausage. Screen grab via YouTube

Another one for Carl’s Jr., and this time they’re poking fun at their previous spots featuring starlets parading in skimpy clothes while munching on high-calorie foods. It’s unclear from the ad if this is actually a real option on the menu. But a lot of fun was had making the video. And it’s VERY OBVIOUS why this one was banned, even though it was showing no nudity.  

Update: Carl's Jr released a statement saying that although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they had nothing to do with this spot. Still, they got plenty of credit for it. 

SodaStream: Scarlett Johansson

SodaStream. Screen grab via YouTube

It’s hard to why this one was banned by Fox. After all, it certainly didn’t have the sexual content or violence of other ads that were perfectly permissible. Oh, that’s right. It was because SodaStream had a bash at Coke and Pepsi, and Pepsi was sponsoring the half-time show. When it comes to money and sponsorship, there’s no easier way to get banned than taking potshots at the sponsors.  

Dream Water: Lifeguard

Dream Water. Screen Grab via YouTube

A lifeguard. A woman in trouble. And the gag at the end (pun intended) was always going to get this one banned. Come on guys, this is a bad joke and a transparent attempt at shock value. Still, it did well in viral; but that’s not surprising. 

Powerade Zero: Teeter Totter

Powerade Zero. Screen grab via YouTube

Research all the banned commercials from the Super Bowl, and you’ll see over half are usually sexually provocative and contain a rather large amount of female skin. This one is no exception. Powerade Zero decided to do a demonstration of the calorie count contained in their product, and a competitors. It comes across as a pale excuse to show bikini-clad models.  

Bud Light: Offspring

Bud Light Fridge. Screen grab via YouTube

All you can say about this one is that some people are way too sensitive. Having two beers making out in a fridge is hardly steamy stuff. It’s a bit suggestive, of course, but the kids aren’t really going to know what’s going on.  

Super Bowl Advertising Advice...

If you're in the enviable position of working on a Super Bowl ad this year, you will have to walk the fine line of making a splash and being noticed for the wrong reasons. Make sure that if you are being racy, it is rooted in the product or service. But better yet, create an ad like 1984 for Apple, or the wonderful Darth Vader spot for Volkswagen.