8 Offensive Commercials

While it is common for advertisers to create risqué campaigns in order to attract the attention of viewers, sometimes these commercials can cross the line from boundary-pushing to downright offensive.

Obviously, offensiveness is subjective, so specific ads may make you angry, make you laugh or even make you feel nothing at all. Regardless, here are 8 commercials with questionable content that are bound to at least make you ask, “How was that supposed to sell THAT?”:

1. This new camera ad has an unusual way of advertising its device’s picture quality: making an ad featuring military torture and a firing squad. While a midway twist renders the commercial less bleak than you’d expect, I doubt too many people are won over enough to purchase the product after this distasteful display.


2. Paddy Power ventured into some transphobic territory when it tries to quickly pick out transgendered ladies in a crowd. The ad is bound to offend since it treats gender identity as an object of ridicule, and the supposed “hilarity” is easily lost as they label some female-appearing individuals men and one person a “dog.”


3. A narrator with an exaggerated Chinese accent teases an animated baby who can’t manage to eat Jello with chopsticks. “Who do Chinese people use such funny objects anyway?”, seems to be the implication. Fortunately, the baby is finally given a spoon – a utensil referred to as a “Western invention” (fun fact: it’s not) – so he can eat his gelatinous dessert. While you may think Western countries wouldn’t dare imitate Eastern culture for comic effect these days…


4. … Ashton Kutcher may just prove you wrong as he does brown-face for a potato chip company. His impression of an Indian man definitely shows a lack of sensitivity, if not also a flawed sense of humor. (Click link to watch.)


5. Does the idea of evil dictators frolicking playfully upset you? Then you might want to avoid this Nando’s chicken ad, which portrays Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s controversial former leader cavorting with other corrupt world figures like Saddam Hussein, Mao Zedong and Muammar Gaddafi. It works as a piece of political satire, but its flippant attitude toward its subjects in the name of selling chicken understandably ruffled some feathers.


6. One political statement I can’t get behind, however, is Rick Perry’s presidential campaign ad. Criticizing gays in the military and fabricating a supposed war on religion, Perry still makes me shudder… until I remember that this ad contributed to the demise of Perry’s candidacy.


7. How does a woman become a slim, attractive, subservient housewife? Why by drinking Pepsi, of course! I’m sure this ad wasn’t nearly as offensive as it should have been in 1957, but by today’s standards, it’s pretty terrible. This commercial isn’t just selling a soft drink, it’s peddling a backwards female identity.


8. Goodyear makes some really solid tires that… LOOK OUT, THERE’S A WOMAN ON THE ROAD! Oh my goodness, who thought it would be a good idea to give women licenses? As offensive as this ad must have been, it’s hard not to chuckle at the thought of someone using such a blatantly sexist campaign to market a product today.


Related Stories:

Super Bowl Commercials: How Women Fare

Lane Bryant’s Plus-Size Lingerie Commercial Gets Censored by Networks

Sexism Still Selling in these 3 Super Bowl Ads



Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

thanks.. I didnt watch them all though

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe4 years ago

I DVR shows I like so that I can fast forward through commercials so I don't have to listen to them!

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago


Christine W.
Christine W4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M4 years ago


Marcel Elschot
Marcel Elschot4 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Kerryn A.
Kerryn Ayton4 years ago

Most of these ads make my stomach turn. Thanks for sharing.

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold4 years ago

Anything with the Texas governor is offensive. He is offensive.

Diane B.
Diane B4 years ago

I mute most commercials and because there are so many of them at a stretch, I'll go fix myself something to eat, or dust a room, or find something to fill up those otherwise wasted minutes- : )

Marianne B.
Marianne B4 years ago

I did not waste my time watching all the videos. I did check out the one with Ashton Kutcher. Just confirmed to me, he is not funny. The commercial was idiotic. The ones that bother me are the feminine hygeine ones, Cialis, Viagra, K-Y his & hers, trojans, etc. Yes we all know about them, but I don't care to see them airing. I do sit with the remote, and 90% of the time hit the mute button, on all commercials. I think they are plain stupid. They don't persuede to buy their products.