Ads that wouldn't fly in the U.S.

By Published on .

1 KFC PROMOTES BAD BEHAVIOR

More people-1,671-complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, the U.K.'s ad watchdog, about this KFC spot by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, than any other in 2005. Its offense? People are singing with their mouths full of chicken. BBH was accused of promoting bad table manners and overeating, increasing the risk of choking, mocking people with speech impediments and even bringing the emergency services into disrepute.

2 TELEFONICA PICTURES SADDAM

In Brazil, phone company Telefonica distributed a prepaid phone card as part of a series called "History of the World" with the image of a bearded Saddam Hussein being captured by armed American soldiers. After at least one complaint that the image glorified war, violence and racial intolerance, Telefonica hastily recalled 200,000 phone cards in July and ran local newspaper ads apologizing.

3 SPITTING WITH FANTA

Not many marketers would be brave enough to show people spitting out their product in disgust, but that's how Coca-Cola presented the old Fanta Light when the company launched zero-sugar Fanta Z in the U.K. The ad, by Mother, London, was banned from appearing before 9 p.m. after complaints that it encouraged bad manners, antisocial behavior and even the spread of tuberculosis.

4 IRN BRU AND NUDITY

The taste of Scottish soft drink Irn Bru is so "phenomenal" that two fans enjoying the drink at a soccer match fail to notice what is happening on the field, where a policeman is being wrestled to the ground by a group of streakers, who form a naked human pile on top of him. Even in the U.K., this spot by the Leith Agency, Edinburgh, ran into trouble when it was shown on Saturday morning television.

5 MAZDA IS FOR DUMMIES

In this pan-European Mazda spot by JWT, Dusseldorf, a man loads female mannequins into the back of a Mazda. When the driver carries one of the mannequins out of the car, its nipples become erect and the sound of a woman's giggle is heard. A voice-over says, "The all-new Mazda 5. Surprisingly stimulating." Despite being the third most complained-about U.K. ad of the year, the spot was deemed "humorous" by the Advertising Standards Authority.

6 XBOX 360 IN STANDOFF

Although made in the U.S., this Xbox 360 launch spot was shown only at promotional events, and wasn't aired on TV or posted on the company's site. (It is enjoying viral popularity on sites like ifilm.com.) In "Standoff," people confront each other using their hands as pretend guns. The first person yells "bang!" and a round of pretend carnage is set off, with bodies falling everywhere. Compared to a video game, the violence is tame, but does involve use of real people.

7 GREEN TEA WORMS ARE AD HEROES

Although an emerging hotspot for creative advertising, Thai humor is certainly different. Uni-President's long-running animated saga by BBDO Worldwide, Bangkok, for Unif Green Tea is an epic battle between cunning baby green worms who match wits against tea-leaf pickers, ghosts and anyone else who blocks their path to the best tea leaves. A frequent Cannes Lion winner, one of this year's spots won a Silver Lion.

8 UNILEVER'S POT NOODLE HORN

Unilever Bestfood's Pot Noodle has a history of controversial ads, but still surprised U.K. consumers by asking "Have you got the Pot Noodle horn?" The HHCL United, London, spots enraged viewers who objected to a man walking into a bar with a large brass instrument in his trousers, apparently indicating his desire for a Pot Noodle. In a second spot, a man is unable to sit at his desk because of a giant horn in his trousers.

9 THE NAPSTER STRIPTEASE

While Napster runs innocuous ads in the U.S. for free music downloads, in the U.K. the message is delivered differently. A woman's striptease is suddenly interrupted by the words "30-second previews leave you wanting more? At Napster you get the whole thing." The viral spot by Drugstore, London, is a dig at rival iTunes and its 30-second preview policy, and was posted on GetTheWholeThing.co.uk.

10 OSTRICHES PROMOTE SKIING

Who can figure out Japanese advertising? Tokyo's Tugboat shop created a campaign around skiing ostriches to persuade more people to take Japan Railway's bullet trains to ski resorts. In a TV spot, three ostriches (or people in ostrich suits) wind down the slopes, executing daring jumps and skiing on one foot. The words "We want snow" appear in English. Tugboat chose ostriches because they have absolutely nothing to do with snow or skiing.

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