Over the years, there have been some ads that gained attention for all the wrong reasons. Despite target groups, and board meetings and entire teams working to build popularity for a product, things go wrong. Here’s a few instances.

1. This recent Paytm ad starring Sachin Tendulkar that glorifies a young child being slapped.

2. Amul’s ‘Wuhan Se Yahaan‘ advertisement that ignited controversy over being insensitive.

New Indian Express

3. These Zomato ads that played on the famous ‘MC BC’ by converting them to mac-n-cheese and butter chicken.

People protested that the ads were offensive and in bad taste (ironic considering it’s a food company).


4. This Manforce ad with Sunny Leone that used Navratri to sell condoms in Gujarat. The company was forced to withdraw the ad after public outcry.


5. This ad by a private hospital in Ernakulam about uterus removal that had to be taken down after a social media backlash.

The Hindu

6. Jawed Habib’s ad that featured Indian gods in his salon. Our country isn’t exactly tolerant when it comes to religion on TV/print.

He had to issue a public apology and remove the ad.

Zee News

7. This Lux Cosy ad, which the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ordered a ban on, terming it ‘indecent, vulgar and suggestive’.


8. This 1995 ad for Tuff Shoes, which featured models Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre wearing nothing but shoes, with a python wrapped around their body.

The ad was banned and the models were charged with indecent behaviour in a court.

DNA India

9. This inner-wear ad from 1998 which showed Dino Morea pulling off Bipasha Basu’s underwear with his teeth was banned after widespread protests.

The ad was for a company called Calida.


10. This 1991 Kamasutra Condoms ad was banned for being ‘too steamy’. It featured Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson, and was definitely ahead of its time.

11. This 2007 Wild Stone deo ad, a version of which many of you might have seen on TV. The original uncut version was termed ‘indecent, vulgar and suggestive’ by the I&B Ministry.

It featured a Bengali woman hooking up with a random man during Durga Puja thanks to his deo. A highly edited version would play on TV back in the day.

And that’s the saga of ad controversies over the years!