We love to watch some commercials as some of them are soothing for our eyes or some of them give an important message or some of them are interesting. But there are some print and television ads which are too bold to handle. Some of such ads were breaking the norms and faced lots of criticisms.
Here are some advertisements which were banned and controversial for its contents
Tuff Shoes Footwear Print Ad (1995)
This one is the most controversial ad in Indian commercial history. This ad showed then model couple Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre posed naked and only the shoes of the brand and a python on them.
A case of obscenity filed against this ad. Also the animal right protesters filed another case against it under the Wildlife Protection Act for illegal use of the python. The legal proceedings lasted for 14 years. Finally, in 2009 the court declared the accused as not guilty.
Amul Macho TV Commercial (2007)
This ad showed Sana Khan washing a man’s underwear with some of the hottest expressions and the words “yeh toh bada toing hai” being played in the background.
The Information and Broadcast Ministry of India banned this ad but the Advertising Standards Council of India cleared it later.
Calida Print Ad (1998)
Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea were featured in this ad for a Switzerland-based undergarment brand, Calinda. Dino was seen pulling off Bipasha’s underwear with his teeth. This hot ad was soon pulled down.
The women’s rights organisations opposed this ad and the then Minister of State for Cultural Affairs, Anil Deshmukh was also against this ad. Then it was banned. The caption of these pictures read, “And you thought your appetite for indulgence could only be whetted by Swiss chocolates”. Later, Bipasha Basu claimed those were some private moments that were not meant to be photographed and used.
Lux Cozy TV Commercial (2007)
In this ad, a man wearing Lux Cozy underwear was chasing a dog that pulled away his towel. A scantily dressed woman came up to him for his dog and stared at his crotch and thanked him for finding his dog. The tag line of this ad was “Apna luck pehen ke chalo”.
The ASCI gave it an all clear signal but the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned the transmission and re-transmission of this ad. This has been considered “indecent, vulgar and suggestive”.
Wild Stone Deo TV Commercial (2007)
This deodorant ad showed during the Durga Pooja celebrations, a Bengali woman bumped into a man. Because of the effect of the deo, the woman was compelled to have sex with him.
The ad was not banned but many religious organisations opposed this as the Durga Puja setting used in this ad. A highly censored version of this ad was aired on the television.
AC Black Apple Juice TV Commercial (2002)
This surrogate ad for AC Black Whisky was a topic of controversy at that time. The ad showed a man was drinking and checking out a woman. With each sip, the neckline of the woman’s dress went deeper. The tagline was “Kucch bhi ho sakta hai”. The ad was banned instantly and the company faced a major financial backlash.
Motorola TV Commercial (2008)
This ad for the phone Motorola C550 showing people can take photos of any moments. Basically, it was encouraging people to be perverted in public with the help of the phone camera and the commercial was banned for this reason.
Bisleri TV Commercial (2002)
This TV ad showed a couple enjoying their time on the beach when suddenly the girl said something to the man. The man worriedly searching his car, his bag and finally rushed to a chemist and came back with a bottle of Bisleri.
The tagline was “Play Safe”. Actually, the company conveyed a message to the youth for safe sex through this ad but Indian authorities could not digest this and it was banned.
Mr Coffee Print Ad (Early 90s)
Malaika Arora and Arbaaz Khan featured coffee ad stirred lots of controversy due to its sexual overtones. The tagline was “Real pleasure can’t come in an instant”. Even Amul came up with a parody ad around it.
Kamasutra Condoms TV Commercial (1991)
This Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson featured ad showed a hot shower scene. This happened after the same company featured Viveka Babajee and Inder Sudan under a waterfall, all to sell condoms appropriately branded Kamasutra. This as was banned on Doordarshan and the other channels also refused to carry this ad.
Axe Chocolate Man TV Commercial (2008)
This advertisement for Axe men’s deodorant made by Mumbai-based Hindustan Unilever Ltd was suspended by the Indian government. The ad showing a man after spraying Axe’s Dark Temptation Deodorant transformed into a walking chocolate figurine. As he walked through the city, women threw themselves at him, licking and biting off his different body parts.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned the ad after receiving complaint from a viewer who found a shot vulgar which showed a woman biting the chocolate man’s bottom.
Kalyan Jewellery Print Ad (2015)
This ad featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was forced to be pulled down after receiving criticism on social media for being racist. In this ad, a slave boy was struggling to hold parasol on top of Aishwarya’s head. There has been an allegation that the ad was racist and promoting child labour.
The advertisement is a medium to convey a message to a large group of people. A detailed research and survey is needed before creating an ad campaign. It is also important that before making a new ad the advertisers and agencies should keep the taste of the masses in mind.