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The 5 Worst Advertisements Ever Created

Last week, we saw Pepsi self-destruct by producing perhaps the most controversial advertisement of all time. Where does it land on my list of the five worst advertisements ever created?

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5. Sony “Playstation Portable White is Coming”


Normally, brands expect their outdoor advertisements to be seen by thousands of people. In 2006, however, one billboard advertisement from Sony was seen by millions, but not for reasons the brand would hope. In an effort to raise awareness for the debut of its white Playstation Portable, Sony created this ad which depicts a white woman, dressed in all white, clutching a black woman by the chin. The ad was bashed as racist and recently resurfaced after one Twitter user tweeted this message above.

4. Nivea "White is Purity"

Had Pepsi not aired its advertisement the exact same week, Nivea’s “White Is Purity” post would have likely garnered a lot more attention. Nivea’s post, which resided on its Facebook page for two days, was blasted by many for “promoting white supremacism.” At a time when racial tensions are high, it is appalling that the brand would consider posting a message that could be perceived as racially insensitive.

3. Just For Feet “Kenya Mission

You guessed it, another advertisement related to racism. Even 18 years ago, brands were making this same mistake. In 1999, while a forgettable SuperBowl played, an unforgettable commercial aired. This spot shows a Kenyan runner get drugged by mercenaries who then “shackle” him with shoes. I’m not sure what was the underlying motivation for creating the spot, but it certainly reflects racism. Just For Feet was so disappointed with the result, they actually sued creative agency Saatchi&Saatchi.

2. Pepsi “Kendall Jenner


What were they thinking? Described as “tone-deaf" by many, Pepsi created perhaps the most unrealistic commercial of all time last week, targeted at a generation which craves authenticity. The two-minute spot attempted to bring to light a major social issue, but instead brought to light how incredibly out-of-touch major brands can be with society.

1. Nationwide “Boy

In SuperBowl XLVIII, Nationwide rolled out the most depressing commercial to ever air. The message they created did not fit the context of the SuperBowl, a light-hearted and fun event in any form or fashion. Instead, it caused parents throughout the country to worry and grow anxious. We don’t tune into the SuperBowl to see sad commercials, we tune into the SuperBowl to for humorous and inspirational content.

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