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Napster's U.K. Striptease and Other Not-for-the-USA Fare

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As we end 2005, we take a look across the world at some of the advertising work deemed, for one reason or another, to be of "Not for the U.S." status. These are all ads that American audiences are not intended to see.

Napster's U.K. 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 doing a striptease suddenly stops and sits down as 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

Unilever's Big 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.

Mazda's Stimulated Dummy
In this pan-European Mazda spot by JWT Dusseldorf, a man loads female mannequins, dressed in lingerie, into the back of a Mazda. When the driver parks outside a lingerie store and carries one of the mannequins out of the car, its nipples become erect and the sound of a woman's giggle is heard. A voiceover 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.

Irn Bru's Naked Pileup
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.

Fanta's Spitting Customers
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. One head teacher reported that children in the playground had copied the commercial.

KFC's Brutish Table Manners
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 and chips. 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; the ad was set in an emergency call center.

Japan's Skiing Ostriches
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 high-speed bullet trains to Japan's ski resorts. In a TV spot, three ostriches (or people in very large ostrich suits) wind expertly 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.

A Tea Worm's Revenge
Although an emerging hotspot for creative advertising, Thai humor is different. Uni-President's long-running animated saga by BBDO Worldwide, Bangkok, for Unif Green Tea is an epic battle between cunning, hungry green baby worms who match wits -- often using hypnosis -- against tea-leaf pickers, ghosts and anyone else who blocks their path to the best tea leaves. A frequent Cannes Lion Gold winner, this year's spot only made the shortlist.

Saddam Hussein Phone Card
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.

Shaving the Front Page
To launch the first battery-powered razor, the M3 Power, Gillette targeted men hurrying to work after a hasty shave. In Singapore, that meant ads plastered all over the mass transit system, including one that sold a newspaper's front page editorial space, a taboo for media in the U.S. MediaCorp's Today, the only newspaper distributed in Singapore's subway system, let the Gillette razor shave off a strip of news all across its front page.

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