The Big Game is the television event of the year–the competition, the halftime show, the desperate yearning to fill a void for a few hours, and of course, the commercials. Beer commercials have always had their place during the Super Bowl broadcast. Some have been wildly successful and talk about for days, but others don’t even make it to the air. Here are four beer commercials that are so controversial, they never aired during the broadcast:
Michelob – “Nixon Strip Club” (1975)
The previous summer saw the historic resignation of Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. For Super Bowl IX, Michelob decided to have a little fun at the former president’s expense. The 30-second spot featured exotic dancers wearing Nixon masks, grinding against poles to a soundtrack by Sly & the Family Stone. The camera cuts to a silhouette of a patron, who flashes two peace signs, presumably Richard Nixon, and a bartender in a Nixon mask serves him 4 Michelobs. The ad was pulled from the broadcast.
Bud Light – “Humping a Computer in the Library” (1986)
Some would argue the 1980s were the heyday for beer commercials. Bud Light, never one to shy away from big-budget Super Bowl ads, enlisted Anthony Michael Hall to play a student in the library on a computer. When Hall hacks into the files of the federal government, he comments on how boring they are. Then, he cracks open a Bud Light, and Hall’s computer turns into supermodel Cindy Crawford. They begin dry humping, the library becomes a nightclub, and Wang Chung plays some stupid fuckin’ song. The ad never aired because Bud Light felt sports and computers were a silly combination.
Anthony Michael Hall hacks into the files of the federal government and comments on how boring they are. Then, he cracks open a Bud Light, and Hall’s computer turns into supermodel Cindy Crawford. They start dry humping.
Budweiser – “The L.A. Riots” (1993)
For the big game between Dallas and Buffalo, Budweiser spliced footage of the L.A. Riots together in what would seemingly be a poignant and echoing message of anti-violence. Instead, the 15-second ad featured the footage of looting and burning buildings. By the end, a graphic flashed stating, “If only they had a Budweiser. Maybe we could all use a few Buds.” Protests from various activist groups forced Budweiser to pull the ad.
Heineken – “Robert DeNiro is Dead” (2007)
A fairly bizarre ad that featured a slow zoom on Adrien Brody wearing a tuxedo. After about 10 seconds, the camera eerily stops to hear Brody whisper the words, “Robert DeNiro is dead, and the ad ends with a shot of a Heineken bottle. The ad was pulled for concerns of slander, but also, because it sucked.
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