12 edgy, offensive or downright creepy display windows

July 01, 2016 5 min read

Wandering the Internet in search for some sort of inspiration, we managed to bump into some offensive window displays that store owners have created along the years. We wanted to share them with you to see what you think. While we do understand the temptation to create something "edgy", most times the display can end up offending a part of store store's audience or downright creeping them out - as you'll see for yourself scrolling down.

Depending on your sense of humor and personal views, you might find some of them hilarious, offensive or downright creepy. And yes, whether we like it or not, they are eye catching, but every store owner should consider the downsides when resorting to edgy display ideas: if not implemented properly they might just turn away visitors and end with a bad PR storm. The last thing you want in front of your store is a picket line comprised of angry parents for example. Or the wrath of social justice warriors upon your online presence.

#1. American Apparel

Valentine’s, New York, 2014

This display from American Apparel is one of a series of challenging windows they’ve created. It’s interesting to see how they’ve taken full on one of the taboos of today’s society. Some found it amusing, some found it daring, while others found it disturbing and moved on to have the display window go away. We think it’s nothing to be ashamed about, we live in a real world, with real people and this is a real thing, so why do those who feel disgusted about it still go into the shop to buy their products?

Read more about it here.

#2. Phillip Browne

Norwich, UK.

This one's a perfect example of British humor and the story behind this implies a similar situation with that of American Apparel. The owner and one of the employees who is also the illustrator of this window, wanted to have some fun. Some people found it amusing but other just went on to call the police to have it removed because it was “not funny”, “cheap” and “stupid”. 

The best part about this window is that the store owner had an incredible answer for the complaints, as you see it below.

Read more about it here.

#3. Unknown Store & Location

Unfortunately, with all its vastness, the Internet does not provide answers to everything, like the questions: Who are the masterminds of this window? and of course, How did it go? How many complaints did they get?

Either way, it fits perfectly in this offensive display category. We know that it had to be taken down, but if you so happen to find some answers to the questions above, please share them with us so we can laugh together.


#4. Lanvin

Paris, France.

This high-end fashion store, wanted to put an emphasis on shoes. We think it worked! They most certainly got the attention of passersby. It might not be that offensive as the rest of the displays around here.

Europeans do have a different sense of humor and way of dealing with taboos so it probably didn’t get taken down.


#5. Unknown Store & Location

While it's supposed to be a pet store display, this is one of the weirdest window displays we’ve found. Ok, we get the hot dog thing, we get the little sausages, but what in the world is the thing in the lower right corner? Excluding the fact that we go into a pet store to find our new best friends and companions, we most certainly don’t want to think of them as being the pieces of meat we consume, let alone see things put in a window as a phallic-like alien creature. Ugh the nightmares!


#6. Unknown Store & Location

One again, information is missing on this particular display. It seems to be some sort of elegant dress store, but our question is why? Why is there a tiger in a cage, in the display? It makes little to no sense, plus taking us back to when we saw tortured animals at the circus…

They might be trying to raise awareness or maybe they just had a tiger laying around in the store and wanted to put it in their window. Who knows?


#7. Unknown Store & Location

We would really like to see how the people in the street reacted to this. The child even has his eyes covered and everything. We don’t know who did this, no idea whatsoever where the store is, but we’re absolutely sure that it got taken down fast. You just can’t get more graphic than this when it comes to display windows.

The people working there were either very upset with management and wanted to cause some trouble or they actually got the ok to present a disturbing scene to their audience.


#8. Unknown Store & Location

This… We don’t even know what this is. It’s impressive, we’ll give it that, but…other than this, we think it’s something brought out of some weird anime with balloons.

#9. Unknown Store & Location

Number # 9 is simply graphic and if it’s a store related to sexy stuff, alright, then we can understand, although the jeans don’t really fit in the picture. If the store is actually selling jeans then they just used sex to sell their products. Which is not creative at all, and while it is amusing, we bet that a lot of people got upset by it.

#10. Unkown Store & Location

Not sure if offensive but it’s definitely disturbing. It's pretty much clear it's marketed towards Halloween but it’s super creepy and we would most certainly close our eyes while passing by this particular shop.

#11. Unkown Store & Location

Don’t even want to think too much about the intentions here or what the message is…ugh…CREEPY!

#12. Unknown store & Location

This is the last one, we promise. But again we can’t decide whether this is offensive or just plain disturbing. What is that? A hand holding the head? We don’t get in. Maybe it was just some upset employee because it’s hard to imagine that anyone thinks this is actually a good idea to promote business, right?

Well now this was a fairly weird ride, but also somewhat funny and equally disturbing. We have no idea what most of these shop owners and employees were thinking or wanted to show through their displays but we think the answer came as a shock to most of them when they were asked to take them down.

If you have any links or examples of disturbing, creepy or offensive display windows, let us know in the comments and we'll include them!

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