10 Controversial Print Ads that Stirred the World

Print ads are everywhere. You can see them on the streets, in the park, on the walls, on billboards, and on magazines. From time to time, you can see some unique ads that can truly capture your attention. This is the purpose of print design ads – to get the attention of as many people as possible.

However, some companies and institutions have gone beyond the acceptable standard of getting the attention of the public. Some of them became controversial based on their design. Others received public criticism based on their campaign message.

To give you some ideas, here are 10 controversial print ads that stirred the world:

  1. International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism

This ad shows three babies. The one with slightly darker skin is holding a duster and wearing a uniform typical of a house cleaner. The message of the campaign is: “Your skin color shouldn’t dictate your future.” Although the campaign is noble, the ad stirs negative emotion.

  1. International Society for Human Rights

It shows a woman wearing a veil typical of what Muslim women wear. The face is covered with veil except her eyes. However, there are railings of jail in front of her eyes. The ad is straightforward. The message is: “Stop the oppression of women in the Islamic world. However, leaders in the Islamic communities did not like the ad.

  1. Amnesty International

The ad shows a woman in a chain. In the picture, she seems to have been abused. This isn’t appropriate. Period!

  1. Luxor Hot Tubs & Saunas

This print ad shows two men being together in a hot tub. The ad stirs gender sensitivity. Religious communities had negative reactions to this ad.

  1. Toyota Prius

This ad by Toyota seems to promote violence instead of their car. On the ad, a man seems to be dumping a dead body from the trunk of the car that parks along the river. On top of that, the message seems to justify the act. It says, “Well, at least he drives a PRIUS.”

  1. WWF

This ad from WWF is quite disturbing. It shows a woman pulling a traveling bag with blood stain on its trail. The massage is: “Don’t buy exotic animal souvenirs.”

  1. Spid Advertising Photographer

It’s an ad where a baby seems to have poisoned a man in a hot tub. The message is: “SPID will look after your baby but not that baby.” The joke is not a joke for many because it promotes child abuse and negligence.”

  1. Sisley

The message of the ad is: “Addicted to fashion?” However, the photo literally shows two women who seem to be taking drugs in front of a dress on the table.

  1. Humans or Animals

This ad is very disturbing. It shows a dead baby filled with blood in front of a zeal with blood-stained rod on its mouth. The message is: “Don’t treat others the way you don’t want to be treated.”

  1. Dove VisibleCare

This ad is racist. It shows three women. The first is a black American. The second one looks like a Latin American. The third one is a Caucasian woman. The ad shows a transition from black to white skin upon using the product.


Print ads must be creative and not destructive. Sometimes, what is supposed to entertain people is what annoys them. In making a print ad, always be careful in your design and your message. You don’t have to be too creative to capture the attention of many people. The above print ads are things that should not be repeated.


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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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