Just because an advertiser wants to shell out $4 million for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial doesn’t mean they’ll get to play in the big game.From sexy Go Daddy ads and video game spots that tell people to “Go to Hell,” to Bud Light spots that make a lot of fart jokes, networks have turned down a lot of major advertisers’ content. In fact, Go Daddy got 13 ads rejected in 2006 alone.
But a “banned ad” that doesn’t get past a network’s Standards & Practices Department sometimes does wonders for a company’s buzz.
“I remember one year when the networks wouldn’t allow one of the Bud Light spots in the game, so Bud actually released it online as, ‘the Super Bowl ad the networks wouldn’t let you see,'” Tanin Blumberg, an account director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Budweiser Super Bowl ad veteran, told BI. “It was pretty smart … got about 1 million views on YouTube in just a few days.”
So, given that networks often won’t publicly comment on whether an ad is rejected and why, advertisers with no intention of actually releasing a Super Bowl ad just send out press releases saying that their ads were rejected, for publicity.
For example, gay dating site Man Crunch said its ad was rejected in 2010 because it dealt with homo and not heterosexual dating, when it really didn’t even make it past CBS’ credit check.
We’ve collected the biggest “banned” ads from the last 10 Super Bowls.
2013: SodaStream's first-ever Super Bowl ad got rejected by CBS for attacking two other huge game sponsors: Coke and Pepsi. SodaStream edited a new cut that will run.
2013: Although it's highly suspect that PornHub ever intended to buy a Super Bowl spot, the company said CBS rejected this spot because it related to porn. (Even though the ad itself is PG.)
2011: Conservative website JesusHatesObama.com said that Fox rejected its ad for inappropriate content.
2010: While gay dating site Man Crunch said that it believed CBS wouldn't reject an identical spot featuring a straight couple, it also admitted that it hadn't passed CBS' credit check.
2009: Ashley Madison said that this tame spot for its adultery website was banned for its overall content.
2009: NBC rejected Catholic Vote's pro-life ad — which showed an ultrasound and text that even though Obama was born into hardship, he succeeded — because it dealt with political issues.
2007: The Apology Bot had appeared in various Bud Light campaigns, but this morbid commercial was too controversial for the Super Bowl by CBS.
2004: The Church of Christ, which accepts gays and lesbians, said CBS rejected its ad over a scene that initially shows two gay men getting turned away from a bouncer at another church.
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