7 Controversial Advertisements Of 2018 Which Pushed The Boundaries A Bit Too Far

Creative minds unleashed a ton of controversies, and misleading advertisements in 2018

Most controversial ads of 2018
Most controversial ads of 2018

Advertisements are like lottery tickets – you either hit a jackpot or lose your money and face the consequences. Advertisements, print or digital, show the true face of the brand. Gone are the days where brands glorified their products and didn’t think twice about how it would affect society.

Today, each advertisement is watched and scrutinized by the knowing eye of netizens and it doesn’t take long for them to point out the sexism or false claims of the advertisements.

Here are some advertisements which were not spared by viewers and some even had to be withdrawn due to the controversy they managed to create:


‘Young Achievers’ Matrimony Meet-Up

A newspaper advertisement by the ‘Young Achievers Matrimony’, this one is quite absurd – a matrimony meet-up only for rich youngsters, ‘beautiful girls’ or those who were from ‘ultra-rich families’. If this isn’t weird, we don’t know what is!

This ad, printed in the newspaper by one Mr. and Mrs. Sreeram was applicable only for these people:

  • Successful Entrepreneurs
  • Respectable Professions (IAS/IPS, IRS, Scientists, etc.)
  • Top University Education (IIT, IIM, CA, etc.)
  • Nationally/Internationally Recognized for Achievements


  • Beautiful girls.
Young Achievers Matrimony Ad
Young Achievers Matrimony Ad

On being questioned about the ridiculousness of this advertisement, Mr. Sreeram said, “We have made the mistake of putting beautiful girls under achievers category. Now, all of India is criticizing us. Who will come to the event now?”

Such a heartwarming response!

Kalyan Jewellers

The advertisement starring none other than Amitabh Bachchan along with his daughter in real life, Shweta Nanda, was criticized all over India for portraying bank officials in a bad light.

Mr. Bachchan played the character of an aged senior citizen who is truthful and honest (apparently like the jewels of Kalyan jewelers) and Shweta Nanda as his young daughter.

Amitabh Bachchan and Kalyan Jewellers ad
Amitabh Bachchan and Kalyan Jewellers ad

He visits a bank where all the officials are rude to them and corrupt too, “Kisko Pata Chalega?”  but he stays firm on his word and demands that the extra money granted to him be returned to the bank.

Bank officials throughout the nation protested against this and Kalyan Jewelers had to withdraw the ad. Executive Director of Kalyan Jewellers, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said, “Along with crores of Indians, we acknowledge the valuable contribution of the banking community to our country.”


Ola Cabs, the popular short distance transport company claimed that their newest venture, Ola Auto can travel four kilometers in Rs. 29 only.

Misleading ad by Ola
Misleading ad by Ola

The Adverting Standard Council of India’s (ASCI) Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has registered a complaint against ANI Technologies of OLA cabs for not including the qualifier of ‘Terms and Conditions apply.’


In spite of being in the media, NDTV is probably not proofreading their taglines.

The NDTV advertisement claims that it is India’s most trusted media brand, which is misleading because, well, it’s not! NDTV failed to mention the survey in which it was named so and used a survey in 2015 for perpetuity.


This controversial advertisement by Nike has cost it dearly – the company’s share prices have fallen and they have been greeted with burnt trainers.

Colin Kaepernick controversial Nike ad
Colin Kaepernick controversial Nike ad

The advertisement features Colin Kaepernick, a football player notorious for disrespecting the flag of America. Nike cast him in a commercial that shows a black and white face of Kaepernick with the tagline, ‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.’ Read the details here.


Pepsi, a cold drink brand featured Kendall Jenner in an advertisement hurting the sentiments of many people, including Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad
Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad

The commercial was widely criticized as it was insensitive and downplayed the Black Lives Matter movement. Pepsi, after facing a huge criticism, withdrew the video and apologized on social media with a tweet.

Apple iPhone X

Apple has been sued for false claims and misleading advertisements about the iPhone X Series. The company claimed their new phones to be ‘all screen, while in reality, the phones have a notch on top. A complaint was registered against Apple for false claims as the buyer, having watched a commercial believed that the phone she ordered would be notchless. For details, click here.

Did we miss any controversial advertisement of 2018? Do let us know by commenting right here!

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