Aside from the actual game, the other reason why 100-million people watch the Super Bowl is for the advertisements themselves. It's the one time of the year where you might actually want to watch the commercials, even as they whip your subconscious into an unquenchable frenzy for things you don't need. At least you'll get in a few laughs in before you to run to the nearest drugstore to get your new bottle of Crest™ toothpaste. My how it makes your smile shine! People are noticing!
The dark side to all of this is the Super Bowl ads that never make it to your screen, the ones caught by the heavy hand of company censors. There are some fundamentals that seem to raise the corporate red flags (hey, are your flags red enough?) every year automatically, but at the same time, what is allowed to air compared to what isn't reveals some interesting prejudices. Sex is both emphasized and censored. (Is your sex life feeling a little censored?) Substances are paradoxically pushed and demonized. (Vegetables? You've never seen vegetables like this before.) Farting? We'll let you check it out. We collected a handful of commercials created for the Super Bowl over the years. See if you can predict which were broadcast and which were banned. If you've got some good guesses--or an argument for why the censors made the wrong decision--drop us a line or leave it in the comments section. We'll include particularly witty remarks, as well as the full list of banned and unbanned ads, in the next edition of Comments of the Week.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.