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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Recent History’s Most Controversial Ads

On June 19, 2017
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We’ve made the case for controversial marketing in the past. Campaigns that rise above monotony, trigger a strong emotional response, and drive widespread engagement can experience unprecedented returns on investment. The name of the game—in advertising, as in most aspects of life—is balance. When does the incendiary become scandalous? When does gender targeting become sexist? At what number of Monday bathroom breaks, having already taken five, have you officially taken a sick day?

So the question remains: Where is the line? In the embarrassment of controversial ads we examined, we found two lines, delineating three distinct categories. We took the best of the best from each category, and voilà:

Most Controversial Ads

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