Youtube contains numerous videos claiming they contain "banned" commercials. Other websites claim to post "banned" print commercials, such as the famous You know you're not the first ad from BMW.

Is it true that commercials may actually be "banned"?

  • 1
    Usually when a commercial is banned its just banned in one or two countries for certain things that may be more offensive to that culture. Jan 19, 2015 at 12:59
  • 2
    Perhaps we need a more precise definition of 'banned'. For instance, that 'not the first' ad seems to have been removed because the advertiser risked being sued for copyright violations, which to me does not seem to fit the ordinary understanding of 'ban'.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 19, 2015 at 19:11
  • Also, some commercials might be banned from public airwaves due to excessive nudity (e.g., while not a commercial, recall the Janet Jackson superbowl wardrobe malfunction) by a public broadcasting regulator. Whether that counts as "banned" is questionable - public airwaves have very specific content restrictions and don't ban specific commercials but anything with the same content.
    – user5341
    Jan 19, 2015 at 21:26
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    Commercials in the US are not regularly produced and then banned on grounds that they are unlawful. Distasteful ads are occasionally rejected by networks and ones that infringe on copyrighted works may be pulled (and may end up on the internet), but marketing agencies do a good job of not sinking money into ads which will be unsuccessful. For example, no one produces pornographic or tobacco-promoting ads for television in the US because it is unlawful.
    – jmabs
    Jan 20, 2015 at 6:11
  • 2
    It is a frequent and effective strategy for companies to "leak" commercials to youtube as "banned". This guarantees attention. They might have never even tried to get it on regular broadcasting.
    – gerrit
    Jan 20, 2015 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


Yes. For example, last year, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority banned a TV advert by payday lender Wonga, (ref). Other banned adverts include those for e-cigarettes (ref), and many that were not banned at the time, but would be banned today (ref).

  • 3
    While technically accurate, this answer doesn't seem to address the spirit of the question, which is about a typical YouTube eyeclick-raising ploy of getting erotic commercials more popular by declaring them "banned" and creating Streisand effect.
    – user5341
    Jan 19, 2015 at 21:25
  • The title mentions "any" commercials, and the last line about "commercials" in general. The youTube commercial is just a typical example.
    – iantresman
    Jan 21, 2015 at 9:11
  • Is it Streisand effect if the effect is intended?
    – gerrit
    Jan 21, 2015 at 17:16
  • This appears to exactly answer the spirit of the question, the question was "can commercials actually be 'banned'", and this answer shows that they can.
    – Johnny
    Jan 21, 2015 at 18:04
  • This is a good answer! Though Wonga's commercial is not what websites would generally mark as "banned". Jan 21, 2015 at 19:48

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