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5 Super Bowl Commercials That Were Banned For Being Too Steamy

Companies shell out big bucks to have their commercials shown during the Super Bowl. In 2024, THR reported that it'd cost brands approximately "$7 million per minute to advertise during the Super Bowl." For those keeping their calculators out at home, that's a huge increase from past years' ads. According to the outlet, paid air time amidst the big game has doubled since 2012.

However, some entities have seen a great deal of publicity by having their high-profile advertisements not air in fear of them being too scandalous. One company that's stirred up plenty of controversy for its ads over the years is Carl's Jr., and the fast food chain missed out on the Super Bowl in 2012 with its ad starring Kate Upton.

The commercial later garnered plenty of attention online. It features Kate Upton watching a movie at a drive-in theater only to pull out a spicy burger loaded with jalapeños. Apparently, the burger's too hot for her, so she begins undressing, much to the curiosity of a man sitting nearby. The ad was also seemingly too hot for censors, as it didn't make it to the big game. It wasn't the first nor the last time Carl's Jr. would rely on beautiful women to sell burgers, as the restaurant also put out ads with Paris Hilton and Charlotte McKinney in skimpy clothing. The fast food chain is far from the only business out there to run against the Super Bowl's sensibilities.

PETA tried making the Super Bowl edgy with its Veggie Love ad

When People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) isn't busy trying to get CGI animals used in Hollywood productions, it's pushing buttons with racy commercials. The animal rights organization has had several commercials banned from airing during the Super Bowl over the years, including one from 2009 called "Veggie Love."

The spot sees several seductively dressed women who look like they're about ready to have fun, only they have their eyes on vegetables rather than people. One woman sexily licks a pumpkin while another caresses her legs with broccoli. It's silly and comes with the message that vegetarians enjoy better sex than meat eaters. PETA released a list of demands from NBC of scenes to cut, including a woman "rubbing asparagus on breast" so that the ad would be suitable to air, which is pretty much most of the commercial.

It's unclear how well that messaging would've played at Super Bowl parties, where football fans usually devour chicken wings and beefy chili. But the ad came out online for all to see, accruing over 2.3 million views on YouTube. 

Bud Light and Airborne have also had banned Super Bowl commercials

Following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show controversy in 2004, it makes sense the network would want to steer clear of any scandalous sensibilities. That might be why a commercial for Airborne where Mickey Rooney runs out of a sauna, showing his bare butt in the process, didn't get airtime in 2005. It certainly was a different kind of wardrobe malfunction.

Bud Light, a perennial favorite among Super Bowl advertisers, had an ad banned in 2010 where an office hosts a clothing drive. Pretty charitable so far, but then people find out they get a Bud Light for each article of clothing they donate, leading to several people getting down to their birthday suits. 

Lastly, Ashley Madison, a dating service that specializes in people looking for extramarital affairs, had an ad banned in 2011, which sees adult film star Savanna Samson down to her underwear by the end. None of these commercials made it to the airwaves during the Super Bowl, but they live on in infamy all the same.