Most Controversial Indian TV Ads In Recent Times


TV advertisements are our window of information to the world.

Some of them strike the right chord whereas some of them bear the brunt of being too sexist, too expletive or too open-minded considering the social stigmas of the Indian society.

Almost all these ads we are going to mention below have been ridiculed thoroughly by the so-called ‘moral police’ and prejudiced society of India for just being too ‘out there in the open’ for touching issues which are kind of ‘hush-hush’ in our society or are more fictionalized versions of something that might just never happen.

Advertisement Number 1 – Idea 3G

  • The exceptionally well crafted ‘Ab Biwi se 3G’ campaign to promote the arrival of 3G services powered by IDEA Cellular in India featured an ad where husbands coerce their wives for sex every time the electricity conks out in their neighborhood.
  • The brilliantly shot ad ‘TV to Biwi’ highlighted on the social issue of overpopulation that occurs from endless sex between husbands and wives everytime electricity in India goes away.
  • However, this ad led to a few hilarious quips being raised against the Aditya Birla Group and Abhishek Bachchan, the protagonist of the ad.


Advertisement Number 2 – Amul Macho – ‘Yeh toh bada toingggg hai!’

  • This ad has had numerous iterations to it. The first ad features a woman brandishing her husband’s underwear to a lot of ladies at the dhobi ghaat.
  • The ad actually meant that the ‘toingggg’ was actually the tightness of the elastic of the underwear which lasts long.
  • The ad is hilariously funny with a funny tagline ‘Yeh toh bada toingggg hai!’ that was on everyone’s lips whenever it aired. However, it did land up into controversy when it faced a potential ban for showing women in a different light. But, the ban was never imposed.


Advertisement Number 3 – Zatak Deo

  • A highly expletive and steamy ad that will make you sweat beads!
  • The ad shows a woman on her wedding night (suhaagraat) waiting for her husband to arrive. She is neatly propped up on the bed with demureness when suddenly a whiff of perfume fragrance hits her and she rushes to the window to witness a sexy man eyeing her sexually.
  • The woman also falls for it and starts taking her clothes off and the ad ends with her even taking her wedding ring off… The rest is up to your wild imagination! Go sweat!
  • This ad did face ridicule by feminist organisations, but never got banned.


Advertisement Number 4 – Durex Condoms (Banned Commercial)

  • This ad is highly funny if you get what it is trying to portray. It features a young man stuck in a lift with a raunchy young woman seducing him to the core and irking him to come get her.
  • Then suddenly, he wakes up from this lovely dream and frantically searches inside his cabinets and finds a Durex condom. He goes back to sleep, smiling, hoping to have that dream again.
  • What this ad wanted to highlight was to practice safe sex, even if it occurs in your dreams. The ad was banned prior to its release because, ohh well… Indian society and condoms don’t mix too well!


Advertisement Number 5 – Airtel – Lady Boss – The Smartphone Network

  • A brilliant ad meant only for people with open-mindedness to understand and respect their married life.
  • The ad features a man arguing with his woman boss over a bucket load of work being put on him even when it is office closing time.
  • The next shot shows the boss scooting over to her house in her car and making a call to her husband and asking him what he wants to have for dinner. The husband tells her so and the call ends. A little while later the office employee gets a call from his wife and he tells her that his boss has given her a lot of work and it will take him some time to reach home.
  • Finally, a 3G video call arrives from his wife in which a lot of dishes are brandished to help him come home fast, and finally it is revealed that his wife is his boss herself! A beautiful ad that shows women empowerment apart from the fact that the couple totally understands that their professional life and personal lives are two distinct entities.
  • The ad did face much flak for showing men in a subordinate position to a woman, but eventually people realized how true this ad is in today’s world and how deep it reflects to the changing social structure of India.

All in all, none of these ads were derogatory or hinting at over the top stuff. They were plain simple ads that were trying to portray the USP of the product they were promoting.

The ads faced flak especially because Indian society is yet to accept the topics touched in them. However, slowly broad-minded people are accepting these ads and Indian society is witnessing a shift from prudishness to a more open and sharing society that accepts society as it is.

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