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Most Controversial Super Bowl Commercials

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The commercials airing during the Super Bowl each year have become incredibly popular in their own right, and nearly every broadcast seems to include at least one ad met with criticism from audiences, media critics, and others. Here are the most controversial Super Bowl commercials of all time:

  • Red Bull: Audiences were disgusted in 2013 after watching a woman pour a can of the energy drink into a glass
  • Roche: This 2010 commercial from the pharmaceutical company reminded viewers that there’s only one trusted name in lethal injection formulas
  • Critics of the web hosting company said it went too far with a 2011 ad featuring Danica Patrick explaining how to set up an SQL server using its storage systems
  • Pilates By Michael: Cries of nepotism rang out after Roger Goodell’s younger brother Michael was given a $3 million commercial slot in which to air a low-budget ad promoting his Los Angeles-area Pilates studio
  • Subway: In 2007, many criticized the sandwich chain’s 30-second silent spot of the Zapruder film followed by the text “$5 Footlong”
  • Pepsi: The soft drink company’s shareholders were outraged after the airing of a $2 million commercial praising the merits of competitor Coca-Cola without once making a reference to Pepsi
  • The Xylex Consortium: This previously unknown conglomerate is raising eyebrows with previews of its 2015 ad proclaiming that “All will perish.”