Most controversial ads of Indian Television

Advertisements are made to create a long lasting impression and brand recall in the consumers mind. Advertising agencies strive to hold on the attention of the audience, using different tools of communication. Over the years, sex and sensuality has emerged as a strong tool to capture the attention of audience. Even if the ad failed to do so, the controversies surrounding these ads get the job done. Listed below are some of the most controversial ads of Indian Television.

Fastrack watch

In the year 2011, Fastrack roped in Cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Genelia D’Souza for a series of commercials. One such commercial featured Kohli as a pilot and Genelia as an airhostess. Genelia tries seducing the pilot and eventually both land up making out in the cockpit while the plane is still in mid-air. This ad was condemned by several Aviation companies for showing them in bad light. They felt that the ad can ruin their reputation. However, the cases filed against this ad were not upheld by the court.


When Bisleri was undergoing transition from “Pure and Safe” to “Play Safe” during its early days in the Indian markets, the mineral water major was desperate to capture the Indian market. This was quite evident from the ad that aired in Feb, 2001. It featured two couples making out and drinking Bisleri water in between on a beach. The whole hidden idea of “safe sex” didn’t play well with Indian audiences and was subsequently banned.

Tuff Shoes

In 1995, this advertisement shocked everyone. The tuff shoe ad featured supermodel Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre. Both posed wearing nothing but a pair of tuff shoes and python wrapped around their body. This ad attracted severe protests from social service organizations for unhealthy promotion and nudity. Another case filed over this ad was under the Wildlife Protection Act for illegal use of the python and animal cruelty. The legal proceedings lasted for around 14 years, until the courts declared the accused as not guilty.

Amul Macho

This ad saw the market shares of the company go exponentially up to 250 crores in 2007-2008. Amul Macho’s “Yeh to bada toying hai” has been amongst the most controversial advertisements in India. It featured a woman washing her husband’s Amul Macho underwear. This woman washes the underwear, fantasizing as if her husband is still wearing it. The suggestive expressions of the woman and the complete setting of the ad, make it sexually explicit and vulgar. This ad attracted strong protests and cases were filed on the aforesaid grounds. The court also upheld those allegations and scrutinized the frequency and airing timings of the advertisement on TV.

Set Wet Zatak, Wildstone deodorants

Set Wet Zatak is a deodrant from Wildstone that has been positioned sensuously in the market. In 2007 an ad featured a women getting aroused and lusting after a man wearing Set Wet zatak deodrant. Her suggestive gestures made the scene look obscene and sexually explicit. This ad sparked several controversies and on the intervention of I&B ministry, the “Advertising Standards Council of India” (ASCI) was asked to look into the matter. Later ASCI told the creative agency to either amend it accordingly or take it off air immediately.

Kamasutra Condoms

Kamasutra Condoms ad

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In October, 1991, one of the first ads for Kamasutra Condom appeared in girlie magazine Debonair. Regarded as India’s most sensational sex accessory, the condom ad featured voluptuous Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson in a shower scene under a waterfall. With this ad, the company found a new tool to sell products that is being bold and sexy. The ad was banned on Doordarshan since it challenged conservative Indian sensibilities. Other media channels refused to carry this ad as the prudish audience couldn’t handle such obscenity.


Switzerland based innerwear Company, Calida is a success in terms of consumer acceptance. In 1998 an advertisement ran into controversies and made this brand the talk of the town. It featured supermodel Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea, both wearing Calida underwear. Dino was photographed pulling off Bipasha Basu’s underwear with his teeth. Several women organizations raised protests against this ad and eventually the ad was banned. Bipasha Basu claimed that those were some private moments that were not meant to be photographed and used.

MR Instant Coffee

In 1993, a coffee manufacturer MR came with a sensuous ad that changed the fortunes of the company. This ad appeared in Mid-Day and featured bootylicious Malaika Arora with her boyfriend Arbaaz Khan cosying up with each other. The expressions were too suggestive and obscene. It is rumored that this ad campaign was inspired by Kamasutra campaign. The tagline “Real pleasure can’t come in an ‘instant’” was found misleading and attracted lot of dirt. After a series of legal proceedings, this advertisement was banned.

Moods Condoms

At the end of the century, actress Pooja Batra came into lime light for wrong reasons! In 1999, RK Swamy advertising agency came up with a sensuous advertisement. In this advertisement Pooja Bedi was photographed sitting on the lap of a male model wearing a bikini. This ad was not that offending and nudity was within acceptable limits. However, this ad also attracted several protests from social service organizations. The tag line ‘India’s most sensational sex accessory’ was also found misleading by the court.

Aristocrat black whiskey

Aristocrat black whiskey ad attracted several controversies in 2002. It was a print ad with a tag line “Kuch bhi ho sakta hai”. It featured a model in a tight dress with exposed neckline and accentuated bosom. This ad was not appreciated and attracted lot of dirt. Later the courts asked the company and advertising agency to retract the bosoms of the model and lessen the suggestiveness in her expressions.

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