Controversial Commercials

“The cleverest thing an advertiser can do is the opposite of what everyone else is doing.” (Daniel Hennessy, U.K. chief creative officer at Geometry Global agency)

Advertisements are meant to draw us in and attract us to a brand. But is there a line to that? Sure, I’ve mentioned commercials in previous posts that use humor or other emotions in order to best bring in their audience. However, sometimes companies will choose to attack attention based off of controversy.

The article posted above states that being talked about negatively is better than not being mentioned at all. Though it pains me a little to admit this, I do think this is true. I’m thinking about the Super bowl and the companies who choose to advertise during it. Every year, without fail, anticipated Super bowl commercials are pre-released, and some never make it to their official air date. This is typically because they were so controversial that they were pulled from the air. But viewers still see these commercials, in mass amounts, as they are spread throughout social media. In fact, the curiosity of why these ads were pulled tends to outweigh the anger that anyone would have in viewing it. Here’s a recent commercial that was pulled from this year’s big game:

Here’s another article about Groupon’s pulled ad:

The undeniable access to these ads, despite them being pulled from the air, begs the question of whether or not these commercials are actually made to be controversial in the first place. Could it be that they gain more viewers and sales by doing this? I want to know what thoughts everyone else has!


One thought on “Controversial Commercials

  1. Hi Sara, thank you for sharing. I actually think that for once Go Daddy was not trying to be controversial. It is not unusual for brands to have multiple commercials for the Super Bowl. So having a backup doesn’t mean they planned for it. It is possible they were just trying to be funny and not aware of the puppy mill problem. At least that is what they claim in interviews.


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