5 Creative, Yet Controversial Indian Print Ads


Print advertisements have their own old world charm associated with them. No matter how much digital media influences our lives, print advertisements will always be one notch above everything else. People who love to read have always this natural tendency to observe and read print ad; something which they can save later and re-read at their leisure.

Here we present 5 creatively stunning print ads which created ripples across the Indian print media. One of them was hugely controversial, which led to an apology by the concerned brand.


a) “Hang Me Again” by Times of India

farmer poster 08 40x60

This advertisement was created by Taproot from Mumbai. Times of India was trying to sell portraits of farmers who committed suicide due to their bad financial position and huge debts. The money generated by the sale of these portraits will help the families of these dead farmers. A social cause, and a creative advertisement.

This print ad was one of the 59 winners of the prestigious Press Lions award at Cannes.

b) “Plus and Minus” of Battery Operated Devices by Duracell


This advertisement was revolutionary in its concept. Created by an agency called Grey from Mumbai, this advertisement was commissioned by Duracell, highlighting the positive and negative aspect of using battery operated devices. Now, Duracell sells batteries and cells and this advertisement could have generated negative publicity for them as well. But the management team of Duracell thought otherwise, as they believed that it is their responsibility to showcase both the aspects.

Hats off to the creative team for this one! This print ad was also one of the winners at Press Lion award at Cannes.

c) Audiobooks by Penguin:

Audiobooks is a relatively new concept in India, and Penguin is looking forward to capture this emerging market. To introduce the concept of audio books to Indian audience, Penguin hired McCann from Mumbai and asked them to create something which will strike a chord with traditional English language readers of classics and the new generation of tech-savvy readers who are used to the concept of ebooks.

After several brain storming sessions, McCann came up with these creatively stunning advertisements, which is a perfect blend of classics and modern technology. The image portrays authors of classics molded into a headphone, showcasing the headphone!

d) iPad Mini by Apple:


This print ad was not created by any Indian agency, but I have included it in this series because of its sheer creative brilliance. In order to advertise iPad Mini in front of readers of magazines, Apple decided to show the tablet in its actual size, with the display showing the actual front cover of that magazine! This series of print ads were published in several national magazines inside US including Wired, Time and The New Yorker, each with the actual front cover in the display of iPad mini.

On one hand it actually showed how the magazine will appear in the iPad and on the other hand it highlighted the technical brilliance of iPad, both in one single shot.

e) “Leave your worries behind” by Ford (controversial advertisement)


This was no doubt one of the most controversial print ads inside India for the year 2013. Ford asked JWT to create advertisements highlighting the comfort and luxury of their cars. But in return, JWT created these sexist advertisements, which shows women tied up in the back side of Ford Figo, and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi grinning behind the wheels with a victory sign. It touched the sensitive issue of women molestation and rape cases which has suddenly exploded in India.

Such was the uproar against this ad that Ford had to issue an apology and found themselves surrounded by negative publicity.

These were our favorite Prints Ads of 2013 – What about you? Which one did you find stunning!

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