466 voters

The Most Controversial Super Bowl Commercials Of All Time

Updated February 8, 2021 2.4k votes 466 voters 30.6k views30 items

There's more to Super Bowl Sunday than tackles, touchdowns, and beer. While a lot of football fans tune in to see the NFL's top teams compete for the ultimate title, other viewers are much more interested in the commercials that air between plays. The Super Bowl is often where companies' best commercials make their debut, and snagging one of those prime spots is not cheap. Maybe that's why the companies behind these controversial Super Bowl ads went for crazy, outlandish, or offensive themes - at least it guaranteed their commercials would be talked about!

Among the many funny and innovative ads that have aired during the big game, there have also been some serious clunkers. Some controversial Super Bowl commercials even sparked huge backlash on social media, and prompted companies to pull the spots. There have even been a handful of banned Super Bowl commercials that were either too risque or too shocking to air during the nation’s most watched show of the year.

From not-so-funny ads that just fell flat to spots featuring off-limits topics or offensive stereotypes, these are some of the worst Super Bowl commercials of all time. Vote up the ones you found most controversial!

  • 5

    Groupon's Tibet Ad

    Video: YouTube
    This 2011 ad often makes lists of the worst Super Bowl commercials. It makes light of Tibet's political struggles with China by commercializing the issue in way only Americans can... by offering a discount. Critics slammed the ad for trivializing the long-standing tensions between the two countries.
    Agree or disagree?
  • 6

    Pete Hoekstra’s Political Bad Taste

    Video: YouTube

    In 2012, Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra ran a campaign ad in Michigan during the Super Bowl which drew criticism for its Asian stereotypes. He also made fun of his opponent Debbie Stabenow’s last name, calling her Debbie “SpendItNow.” Hoekstra eventually lost the Senate race.

    Agree or disagree?
  • 7

    Sales Genie Pandas

    Video: YouTube

    Using every bad Asian stereotype in the book, this 2008 badly animated commercial from Sales Genie offended Asians and panda bears alike. 

    Agree or disagree?
  • 8

    Dove Pro-Age Campaign

    Video: YouTube
    In a 2007 Super Bowl commercial, Dove attempted to make a point by showing naked older women who boldly proclaimed that although they may be too old to be in an anti-aging ad, they were perfect to be in Dove's pro-aging campaign. Unfortunately the audience just got stuck on the "too old to be in an anti-aging ad" part.
    Agree or disagree?