Any advertisement that goes live goes through hundreds of approvals – I can tell you that much from experience. And so, it’s shocking to me that these ads got enough clearances from decision-makers to go on air. It’s truly appalling. Here, we look at some of the most offensive advertisements to have been in the country.

1. The recent Layer’r Shot ad that passes off insinuations at rape as something clever or funny. The ad, rightfully, has received serious backlash on social media.

2. Another Layer’r Shot ad on the same lines, proving that the brand was going for a very disturbing ‘series’, so to speak.

3. Another really offensive series is Men Will Be Men ad run by Imperial Blue. They work on the idea that men will always be creepy, even when they are unconscious sometimes. Even the tagline Men Will Be Men is offensive, let alone the ads. Here is a compilation of them uploaded on Ads Forum.

4. For years, Fair & Lovely – which is now Glow & Lovely – promoted the idea that fair skin is somehow better than dark complexion. These advertisements showed dusky women achieving great heights right after becoming fair. This isn’t just problematic, but also biologically impossible. Your skin has a certain shade and it can only change to an extent. So, you know…these marketing gimmicks are misleading.

5. Veet’s “You’re Not A Boy” advertisement that promotes the idea that if a woman has body hair, she is comparable to a man. And, in turn, the notion that a man NEEDS to have body hair to be manly enough. Seriously?

6. In this Tide ad, a man goes around telling people with unclean shirts to get them washed by their wives. Because obviously, men can’t do it on their own.

7. “I feel like a virgin” ad from the brand 18 Again, for their vaginal tightening cream. The problem with this is that vaginal tightening, as a concept, mostly caters to men and their pleasures. So is the idea of virginity. No woman needs to feel like these are obligations she must entertain, but alas.

8. In this somewhat convoluted Amul advertisement, a father tells his daughter that her newborn brother won’t lay with her dolls and when she feels bad about it, he teaches her cricket so the siblings can play together. Sexism over sexism over sexism. 

The brand apologised for its mistake after backlash.

9. So, an independent woman who is also her husband’s senior at work gives him a tough target because that needs to be met. Good enough! But then she goes home and cooks an elaborate dinner, after spending a whole day in the office. That doesn’t sit right. There was no reason to ‘compensate’ for her strictness with ‘sweetness’, to begin with.

For this one, it seems like they were going for the right message but lost their way.

10. If I get married and have to cook food for my husband’s family in the next few days, while no one helps me…AND THEN they decide to play a prank on me – that would pretty much be the end of things right there. What a silly advertisement from Lotus Cooking Oil.

There’s possibly another 100 that you can add to the list.