Top 20 Funniest Banned Commercials Ever

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Top 20 Funniest Banned Commercials Ever

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
These funny banned commercials deserve to make a comeback. Our countdown includes Cheesy Dads, Prison Visitor, In the Hole, and more!
Transcript

Top 20 Funny Banned Commercials


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 20 funniest banned commercials.

For this list, we’re looking at hilarious ads that were pulled from screens. Some of these commercials may have kept running in certain areas. However, if the ad was banned or pulled at any point in any place in the world, it’s eligible for the list.

Let us know in the comments which commercial you can’t believe advertisers ever thought was a good idea.

#20: Cheesy Dads
Philadelphia Cheese


In 2019, the United Kingdom began enforcing legislation that banned “harmful gender stereotypes” in advertisements. A light Philadelphia Cheese commercial felt the brunt of this new directive when it was released. The ad shows two dads in a coffee shop that had a conveyor belt delivering various cheese-based products snaking around the shop floor. Enticed by a cream cheese bagel, the dads absentmindedly put their babies on the conveyor belt. Fortunately, their children were unharmed. The ad was banned for supposedly making dads look careless and stereotyping women as more capable caregivers. However, we’d argue that anyone would’ve been enticed by that cheese in this amusing ad.

#19: A Flatulent First Date
SmartBeep


Most people would probably find this ad relatively inoffensive. A woman who thinks she’s alone in a car lets one rip while her date is outside the vehicle. However, his friends are in the back. The commercial says the bacherlotte’s behavior was dumb before highlighting its smart beeper. While a funny fart joke might not be the best way to sell a product, surely people can’t get that upset about a normal bodily function? Well, the censors at FOX apparently did. They took issue with this flatulent SmartBeep commercial and had it pulled. Outside of FOX, the commercial’s star Clare Salstrom appeared on “The Late Late Show” to talk about how fun the fart was to shoot.

#18: Kim Cattrall’s Car Commercial
Nissan Tiida


Though “Sex and the City” had been off the air for around two years when this ad aired, Kim Cattrall was brought in to reprise her role as Samantha for this Nissan commercial. It’s made in the same style as the sultry show, with Cattrall dishing about the “ride of her life” over the phone. She’s hilariously talking about the Nissan Tiida and not her latest fling. But that wasn’t enough for New Zealand’s regulators. While the innuendos in her dialogue were the only provocative part of the ad, it received complaints. Nissan eventually decided to get ahead of the scandal and pull the ad themselves.

#17: A Bad Place to Read
Audible


You wouldn’t think an ad for Audible would have anything offensive in it, let alone dangerous, but the Australians didn’t agree. Popular Aussie comedian Celeste Barber starred in this spot about finding opportunities to listen to an audiobook during your daily routine. She’s joined by Poh Ling Yeow of “Masterchef” fame. A scene where Barber is jokingly found sitting inside Poh’s refrigerator earned the ire of regulators. There were claims that the commercial was dangerous because impressionable viewers might copy the chilling act. Outside of the controversial scene, it’s still a fun Audible ad.

#16: A Time of the Month Talk Show
Tampax


The funniest thing about this ad is the idea that Tampax would ever have its own talk show just to advertise menstrual products. But the whole point of “talking” about that time of the month went over a lot of people’s heads. Unfortunately, the ad was widely complained about and ultimately banned in Ireland for being offensive. In an ironic twist, the ban might’ve been more slammed than the ad. People rightfully pointed out that there’s nothing vulgar about talking about an incredibly common item half the population uses. And the commerical’s humor was a great way to get an important message across.

#15: Inappropriate Shaking
For Goodness Shakes


Moving from one part of the human body to another, this protein shake commercial implies that the men it stars are doing something...incredibly inappropriate in public places. The men are actually trying to get their protein shakes just right. Luckily, “For Goodness Shakes” is here to provide protein shakes that are ready to drink right away. So unlike the men in this ad, you’ll avoid any hilarious mixups in public while trying to mix your protein drink. The commercials' logical explanation didn’t prevent it being seen as too edgy for TV. It’s not surprising to hear it was banned by the UK’s advertising authority.

#14: Cheated Out of Chicken
Burger King


Above being racy or inappropriate, there’s another big issue lots of advertisers face when making their commercials: they’re not supposed to lie or mislead the audience. That’s exactly why a humorous Burger King ad from 2010 was banned in the UK. It shows a man who’s snuck out to a motel room to enjoy the new Tendercrisp Chicken. But he’s caught in the act by a jealous cow that wants him to eat beef instead. It wasn’t banned because of the implication that this man has a weird connection with a jealous cow. Nope, it was pulled because the real Tendercrisp Chicken sandwich is a lot smaller than the one shown.

#13: Taking Care of Chores
Wodka Vodka


This ad from 2011 was allegedly banned for its gender stereotypes. It was part of a long-running campaign by Wodka Vodka, a Polish liquor company. In this commercial, a woman says she’ll get the house clean and cook a nice dinner for her partner while he’s at work. But it’s revealed that her private profession involves her forcing male clients to do household chores. Either the racy content or depiction of a woman being placed in a traditional role might’ve earned the ad a ban. As offensive as some may have found it, the commercial features funny and creative problem solving. Admittedly, it’s not entirely clear what any of this has to do with vodka.

#12: An Orange Man Tangos Too Hard
Tango


This Tango ad features a man painted orange going up and slapping another man who’s just opened a can of Tango, an orange-flavored soda sold in the UK. This hit apparently represents the overwhelming tang you taste when you take your first sip. This silly commercial was banned in the UK after it allegedly caused an epidemic of impressionable viewers slapping each other. After news of these supposed incidents broke, the ad was pulled from the air and replaced with a less violent Orange Man. Despite the controversy, the “you know when you’ve been Tango’d” campaign continued to bring wild success to the company.

#11: Everybody’s Doing It
PS Vita


This is another ad that initially seems like it was only banned for being far too suggestive. In the commercial, a female doctor claims viewers are “doing it” far more often than is healthy. Obviously, by “doing it” she means playing on Sony’s handheld PlayStation Vita with the new remote play feature. This funny remote play commercial turned out to be no laughing matter for Sony. The ad was lambasted for being misleading about Vita function as well as its “inappropriate” phrasing. Sony claimed it was “cross-platform” gaming – when really, you’re just streaming your console to a handheld. Ultimately, this doctored ad and more like it cost the company to lose money over false advertising.

#10: Rooting Against England
Six Nations Rugby Championship


When you initially watch this commercial, it seems like everybody is supporting the English rugby team in the lead-up to 2012’s Six Nations Rugby Championship. But you’ll see a hilariously unexpected truth when you look closer. The people voicing their support for England are wearing flags and coats of arms from different countries that also compete. Fans from Wales, Ireland, and Italy are all seen. A tagline reveals that these people are actually naming the country they want to lose the tournament. The BBC pulled the trailer over fears it would upset the English before pulling another similar ad in 2017.

#9: Hiding a Fling
Hyundai


In this car commercial, we see an older woman driving with a much younger man in her vehicle. She then sees her husband driving in a different car up ahead and puts the passenger seat all the way back so the husband won’t see her companion. At the end of the commercial though, it’s revealed that the husband – also driving a Hyundai – is hiding an affair too. It just so happens that he's accompanied by a young man wearing a cowboy hat. It’s unclear what got the ad banned. Either way, it was a clever way to show off a car’s passenger seat.

#8: Prison Visitor
Vim Cream


We open on a shot of a woman behind a glass screen and her young daughter seemingly visiting her in prison. But it’s quickly revealed that the mom isn’t in prison at all—she’s actually trapped in her bathtub. Any adult knows that cleaning the bathroom is probably the worst of all household jobs. Vim offered to expedite the process with its flashy cleaning cream. Despite being widely acclaimed in the advertising world, this ad was supposedly pulled at one time. Maybe the prison setup was too much for viewers to handle.

#7: Risking “Dudeness”
Veet


Unlike many other contentious commercials, these ads were part of an extensive campaign. So, there are quite a few of them that all follow the same trend. They went out in 2014 and implied a woman forgetting to shave or wax for a day would make her turn into an extremely hairy man. Multiple people including a beautician, a cab driver, and an extremely judgmental paramedic were horrified at the existence of body hair on a woman. We understand Veet is a company that makes hair removal products and needs to advertise them. But despite some potential for sharp social commentary, pretty much everybody felt these commercials missed the mark.

#6: Lab Rat Test
Nintendo Gameboy Micro


The Gameboy took the world by storm as a wildly popular handheld. Its Micro version rounded out the Gameboy family when it was released in 2005. But one ad could’ve ruined Nintendo’s mostly family-friendly image. We see a rat placed in a maze with a Gameboy and a piece of cheese. Scientists mean to test whether the food or handheld is more irresistible. Naturally, the rat chooses the Gameboy. But things definitely cross a line when the rat appreciates the Gameboy Micro…*ahem* way too much. Given the inappropriate content in a commercial aimed at kids, it’s easy to see why this hilariously unexpected ad may have been downplayed.

#5: Grim Reaper
Hyundai Veloster


Although it’s always good for any car manufacturer to focus on how safe its latest vehicle is, Hyundai definitely took it a little too far in this commercial for the Veloster. In it, we see a woman being driven home in a Ford Focus. Unfortunately, she forgets to look both ways when she gets out. She immediately gets into a car accident thanks to the Grim Reaper’s influence. We then see the same scenario play out again, but this time she’s in a Hyundai Veloster. Since it’s a three-door, she gets out on the other side and avoids the accident while the grim reaper gets hilarious comeuppance. In a rare instance, Hyundai decided to take the ad out of rotation before it was fully banned.

#4: Standoff
Xbox 360


At the beginning of the Xbox 360’s lifecycle, Microsoft advertised its new flagship console a little aggressively. Though it was a great device, the company’s standoff ad wasn’t as well regarded. It was meant to be an innocent ad where strangers used imaginary finger guns in a big pretend showdown. The commercial was even shown off by Microsoft at a few promotional events and was presumably intended to be put on TV. While the commercial was played for fun, there were questions if the ad was making light of violent acts. In yet another example of a company trying to avoid future controversy, Microsoft decided not to air the ad. The zany finger gun battle was left to only exist in our imaginations.

#3: Clothing Drive
Bud Light


In this attention grabbing Superbowl ad, an office clothing drive promises to give people a Bud Light for every item of clothing donated. This leads to office workers giving away every piece of clothing on their bodies. Though the nudity is all censored, the amusing concept quickly grows uncomfortable as the ad goes on. It was ultimately deemed too much for television. But it’s not the only banned Bud Light advert to get in trouble. A commercial with an over-the-top pillow fight was criticized for violence. And yet another ad about two skinny dippers was also pulled from screens for the risque content.

#2: In the Hole
kgb


This is another Superbowl spot that didn’t get past the censors. Designed to be as shocking as possible, it features two golfers who get their heads stuck in their rear-ends after discussing global warming. The ad makes it clear that they don’t really know much about the subject. Seeing as kgb is a fact-checking service, the crux of the ad is that if you don’t use them, you’ll end up just like these unfortunate golfing guys. The commercial is definitely funny and memorable. However, CBS kept kgb’s ad off its airways.

#1: The Last Dictator Standing
Nando’s


The last thing you should be doing while you’re trying to advertise a chicken restaurant is feature a roster of the world’s most notorious dictators. But that’s exactly what Nando’s did in this insane commercial from 2011. It featured Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who was still alive at the time, hanging out with Colonel Gaddafi, Mao Zedong, and even Saddam Hussein. The ad ends with the suggestion that Mugabe is upset that his fellow autocrats have been removed from power because he doesn’t have anyone to share his chicken with. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this ad would firmly disagree. After staff received threats of boycotts and even violence, the commercial was pulled.
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