Six Advertisements that Made Us Cringe

There are moments in your life that you will never forget, such as the moment you meet your soul mate or the moment you know exactly what career you want to pursue.


I will never forget the moment I saw the Kendall Jenner and Pepsi ad.


For those of you who might not know, Pepsi released an ad starring Kendall Jenner. This ad was supposed to represent a country uniting over Pepsi. The country did end up uniting; however, this was because the majority of Americans came together over their disgust towards the ad.


Who can blame any of these Americans? This commercial, according to Pepsi, was supposed to emphasize “unity, peace and understanding”. It ended up capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter Movement, undermining the severity of police brutality and glamourizing a celebrity who has been accused of cultural appropriation in the past. Obviously, the it was poorly received and within 24 hours the Pepsi ad was taken down.


Although a representative of Pepsi did apologize for this ad that “clearly missed the mark," most of us can’t help but wonder: “What were they thinking?” Unfortunately, the Pepsi ad is not the first advertisement that made us think that and it probably won’t be the last.


Here are a few more examples of advertising fails that will always make us cringe:


1. Nivea’s “White is Purity” Ad

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Oddly enough, this advertisement was released days before the Pepsi commercial. However, this Nivea ad made me cringe just as hard. Using the slogan, “White is purity,” conveys a message that any other color is not pure. Overall, it sounds like the messaging of white supremacists and left most of us feeling angered and uncomfortable. Although the ad was removed, it will take awhile for the Nivea ad team to bounce back.


2. Sony’s “PlayStation Portable White” Ad

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This advertisement came out twelve years ago; however, I recently saw it appear again on my Twitter in lieu of the Pepsi scandal. And, WOW, was this advertisement bad. I do not know who decided that a strong white woman dressed entirely in white threateningly grabbing a black woman would be a good image for the brand. It was not. This ad’s cringe-worthiness still remains today.



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Although advertisers should always keep the content of their advertisements in mind, it is especially important to be on top of their game during Super Bowl Sunday. Advertisers need to make an advertisement that is unforgettable to millions of viewers. Nationwide did this… but not in a good way.

I do not think anyone will forget the Nationwide commercial of a little boy exploring his imagination and then saying he had died in a household accident. Nationwide defended the ad, but people cannot help squirm from discomfort when they see this commercial.


4. The Bloomingdale’s Eggnog Ad

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Remember when I said earlier that the Pepsi ad made us go, “What were they thinking?”  Everyone who saw this Bloomingdale’s ad thought the same thing. Encouraging someone to spike a friend’s eggnog not only is creepy on every level, but it also does not even KIND OF represent the Bloomingdale’s brand or products. Bloomingdale’s later apologized for the ad, but I still cannot help but gag every time I see it.


5. Zara’s “Love Your Curves” Ad

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This ad sparked quite a bit of controversy on different media forums. Although I did not think it was as bad as some of the previously mentioned ads, it still makes me wonder what the advertisers were thinking. If you are going to do a body positivity ad, it is so important to have women of different shapes and sizes who will reflect that. This ad just completely missed the mark.


6. Miracle Mattress’s “Twin Tower” Sale Commercial

And last, but definitely not least, we have THIS ad. 

Oh my goodness, this ad.

In this commercial a Miracle Mattress of San Antonio staff member is seen promoting a “twin tower” sale on September 11. Her coworkers proceed to knock over two stacks of mattresses, which obviously represents the falling of the Twin Towers. The staff member then says, “Never forget,” to complete the horrendous ad.

My whole class watched this commercial and we all physically tensed up in our chairs. I have no idea what the Miracle Mattress staff was thinking, and quite frankly, I do not want to know.