12 Controversial Ads from the Past

Ethics change, so do the societies, so do the ads. We are living in a “developed” society, or so we think. In 10-20 years what we take today as allowed and welcomed will be incorrect on so many levels.

Selling alcohol, cigarets and guns was once a honest way of living, but today it is not allowed. The opposite is also true. Talking about science was not allowed for many centuries, but now it is hard to avoid in everyday conversations. Who knows what legal or ethical restrictions will emerge in the future? Today anyone can change opinion of millions with few words or presses of the button.

However, today we are not going to talk about the future, rather about the past. We are going to look at some old ads, which could offend some viewers and start riots and demonstrations if shown in incorrect context, but I am doing it from a fun and educational level, so hopefully no one will sue me. Enjoy:

1. Tipalet – with cigaret seduction.

Controversial ad cigarets

2. Toothache drops – made of cocaine

Controversial ad cocaine

3. Rats – An Asian person is eating a mouse… yeh…

Controversial ad enthnicity

4. Decron – Carpets


5. Lysol – Concentrated germ killer for women

Controversial ad germs

6. Lucky Strike – Healthy cigarets for good looking people.

Controversial ad cigarets

7. Vitamin donuts – eat what you like and stay healthy

Controversial ad healthy donuts

8. Wheaties – Japanese trap for American soldiers

Controversial ad breakfast

9. Chase ans Sanborn coffee – drink it without telling others

Controversial ad coffee

10. Lane Bryant – Discounts on cloth

Controversial ad cloth

11. Humble – Energy provider

Controversial ad glacier

12. Perfect Christmas gift – Gun

Controversial ad guns

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Funny and Controversial Advertisment – “Never Say No to Panda”

“Never say no to panda” is a cheese advertisement depicting people saying “no” to Panda cheese and dealing with consequences – panda.

I don’t know what your opinion about this advertising, whether it works and not and whether people will have a good brand attitude after they they see this advertisement.

From what I can see, the advertisement is based on fear appeal, i.e., fear of not using the product, as well as that the message is negatively framed message (consequences of not using the product), to say that making advertisement positively framed is not always the solution (positively framed fear appeal would be for example to be avoid fear by using a product, which is many times the case is tooth pasts preventing caries).

By presenting brand information in the following way company achieves several things: attention, interest and increased processing of information. It does not per se mean that people will have a positive attitude toward the brand. Most FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) are low involving product, meaning that people don’t think to much about them, thus people perceive information on much more superficial level, and require much more positive information (positive feeling from using the product). Negatively framed campaign based on fear is more suitable for high-involvement, “thinking products”, or “necessities”, such as insurance and medical products. Still, there are different types of consumers so, like in recent US presidential elections, different campaigns are needed to reach different target groups. Also there is a problem of clutter, so maybe a different and unexpected campaign will stand out from the crowd.

In the end, only real live products sales will be indicative of campaign success. The rest is our opinion. “Never say no to Panda” – check it out: