The open secret in the advertising world is that often companies intentionally submit commercials they know are going to be blocked from airing. Especially when the “banned” spot was intended to be a Super Bowl commercial, this little dance is a great way to use invented controversy to created greater public awareness of the brand or product. Often it’s painfully obvious which Super Bowl commercials were designed to be blocked (SodaStream, we’re looking at you!) while other times it is more difficult to gauge the level of sincerity behind a spot.
In any case, here we are talking about banned Super Bowl commercials, so clearly getting your ad axed drums up conversation, intentional or not. And as an added bonus for these censored commercials, there is of course no multimillion dollar pay out to the broadcaster for those precious seconds of Super Bowl airtime. So you get publicity for the banning and savings at the same time? Hmm… maybe it’s time we make an ad we know will get blocked…
First up is a banned Super Bowl commercial that just may well have been a sincere submission. Did the people behind this Daniel Defense commercial intended for airing during Super Bowl XLVIII actually think their pro-gun spot would run? Hard to say, but here it is:
Next up we have a spot that was just too sexy for the Super Bowl. And honestly… it is way the hell over the top for a family-friendly television event like the Super Bowl. Come on Carl’s Jr., we get it: you like commercials with scantily clad women eating food. But this woman is basically actually making love to her meal:
Here’s a sexy spot from a decidedly different source: rather than the meat-loving ladies of Carl’s Jr., here we have the infamous “Veggie Love” commercial PETA tried to run during Super Bowl XLIII back in 2009:
And then there’s 2007’s “Skinny Dipping” ad that Bud Light tried to run. This one is actually really tame other than an implied joke. A bad ban, we say!
Finally we come to the infamous obvious attempt at a ban. SodaStream is notorious for creating ads they know will upset the major beverage makers, and this time they used actress Scarlett Johansson to call out two of the heavyweights directly, obviously knowing the spot would be blocked… and then discussed. We feel a certain level of disgust, in fact, for playing into it. Sorry, Coke and Pepsi, but we’re going to show it anyway: