16 Banned Super Bowl Ads
Chimps get a little too close to home, abortion takes center stage, and Jesus and Obama bobblehead dolls duke it out. Watch that and more campaigns that never made it to game day.
Jesus and Obama bobblehead dolls duke it out, an almost-nude model caresses a pumpkin, and Mickey Rooney does the unthinkable. Watch these and other ads that won’t make it to game day.
Monkey Business (2012) Chimps aren’t people–but they sure do look cute in clothes. CareerBuilder.com is catching some heat from the Lincoln Park Zoo for their commercial featuring chimpanzees acting like humans. Zoo officials worry that portraying the primates as pets will lead to less conservation. However, Careerbuilder.com is not expected to give into demands. Alas, the ad has already been paid for.
Anti-Abortion (2011)Graphic ads featuring aborted fetuses will air in select cities during the Super Bowl. The man behind the ads is anti-abortion zealot Randall Terry, who also happens to be on the 2012 presidential ballot as a Republican. Terry bought air time in 11 markets, but some cities are opting not to air the commercials. The following ad is from 2011, but we can assume the new spots will be just as graphic.
JesusHatesObama.com: Bobbleheads (2011)
It’s Jesus vs. Obama…bobbleheads? In this ad for conservative comedy website JesusHatesObama.com, a Jesus doll and a President Obama doll face off in an office before President Obama falls into a fish tank—presumably caused by Jesus. Looks like the comedians at this site will have to keep praying if they want an ad next year.
Ashley Madison: Porn Star Savanna Samson (2011)
The latest AshleyMadison.com ad—the second banned from the Super Bowl—features the porn star Samson hawking for the dating service that caters to people in relationships. The spot asks the question, “Isn’t it time for AshleyMadison.com?” To which we respond: Is it ever time for AshleyMadison.com?
GoDaddy: Lola the Lingerie Designer (2010)
Web hosting company GoDaddy boasts a years-long history of banned Super Bowl ads—usually thanks to its insistence on featuring soft-core porn and sex jokes in its campaigns. In a seeming attempt to “tone it down” this year, the company produced this commercial featuring “Lola,” a fictional retired football player-turned-flamboyant lingerie designer. It’s a bit unclear just what about this ad so offended CBS execs (have they seen Project Runway?), but you won’t be seeing it Sunday evening.
ManCrunch: Football Make-Out Session (2010)
The gay dating site ManCruch's ad is groundbreaking in at least two ways: One, in its positive and non-stereotypical portrayal of gay sexuality; and two, in the revolutionary notion that Packers fans and Vikings fans might someday get along well enough to sit on the same couch—let alone make out with one another. Unfortunately, CBS felt the ad's vision was too radical for mainstream viewers, and the ad was spiked.
KGB Texting Service: Golfers with Heads In Asses (2010)
Did the info request service KGB have its, er, head up its ass in thinking that it could run a Super Bowl ad featuring dudes who literally have their heads up their asses? Perhaps. But we’ll forgive them. This commercial is darn creative—and raises some interesting questions about human flexibility.
PETA: Veggie Love (2009)
It began with the tagline “I’d rather go naked than wear fur”—and over the past few years, PETA has released one amazingly scandalous ad after another. The animal rights organization’s commercial for last year’s Super Bowl, advertising “vegetarian love,” didn’t stand a chance. Some of the reasons it didn’t meet NBC’s decency standards? A scantily clad model “licking pumpkin,” “touching breast with her hand while eating broccoli,” “rubbing pelvic region with pumpkin,” and other graphic acts.
Snickers: Accidental Kiss (2009)
Snickers' own man-on-man make-out ad had a slightly different (and somewhat less progressive) view of male sexuality from the ManCrunch spot. Disappointing, yes, but eager viewers can be assured that the Lady and the Tramp-style kiss in the ad is much sexier, possibly because no potato chips are involved.
Budweiser: Skinny Dipping (2007)
A man and a woman decide to go skinny dipping in what appears to be a deserted pool. Have you seen an advertisement before? Yes? Than you may have some sense of how this one will end: Not well. Or, not well for the poor skinny-dippers. And, ultimately, not well for Budweiser, who saw this spot banned in 2007.
Ashley Madison: Date (2009)
Not many ads are so bold as to come out and ask viewers if they hate their spouses, so Ashley Madison, the dating site that hooks up married people looking for an affair, gets some points for that. But we're not really inclined to give it any more leeway, and neither was NBC, who blocked the ad in 2009.
Miller Lite: Catfight! (2003)
Do advertisers really think men are so dumb and single-minded that they will buy beer so long as its advertising includes good-looking women taking off their clothes? Yes. We wish we could say they were wrong, too.
Airborne: Mickey Rooney Steams Things Up (2009)
Well, at least TV networks aren’t biased in the type of skin they ban. This rather benign Airborne ad, starring a bare-bummed 79-year-old Mickey Rooney, didn’t make last year’s Super Bowl cut. Cover your eyes, kids!
Smart Beep: Woman Lets One Rip in Car (early 2000s)
Okay. We understand why TV networks would want to shield kids’ innocent eyes from exposed breasts and bare bums. But fart jokes? C’mon. Thankfully, this hilarious ad for Smart Beep beeper service has survived on the Inter Web, bringing untold hours of unadulterated joy to viewers everywhere.
Bud Light: Apology-Bot 3000 (2007)
Perhaps CBS felt it might be a buzz kill (no pun intended) to air this controversial Bud Light ad, in which a talking robot tells restaurant patrons they’re soon going to die. The kiddies might not bounce back from that one so easily.
Dante's Inferno Video Game: Sending the Wrong Message (2010)
It’s probably not a good idea to tell your viewers to “go to hell," either—even if indirectly. Noting this, CBS has decided not to air this Super Bowl ad for the Electronic Arts video game Dante’s Inferno (which totes the aforementioned tagline), instead opting for a toned-down version, featuring a new slogan: “Hell awaits.” A bit cheerier, no?