The Most Controversial Super Bowl Ads of All Time

In an advertising landscape that’s run by (and caters to) the Don Drapers of the world, it’s hardly surprising that we’re seeing commercials like this one from Volkswagen, set to air next Sunday at the Super Bowl. Various critics have been attacking and defending the ad, which likens driving a Volkswagen with being more chilled out – a trait that’s illustrated by characters emulating Jamaican accents. The commercial signs off with the closer, “Get in. Get happy.” The emergence of this spot, along with CBS’ rejection of a SodaStream commercial earlier in the week, got us thinking about other controversial Super Bowl ads over the years — including some that didn’t even make it to game day.

Pepsi, 2011

Pepsi’s ad from the 2011 Super Bowl sees a couple enjoying Pepsi Max in the park. As a young woman jogs by, and the man in the couple leers at her, his partner lobs the can at him, though he ducks and it lands on the jogger – as though, of course, the athletic temptress brought it on herself. You’ll see plenty more misogynistic ads further down our list. Sigh.