Australia's most complained about ads to 30 June 2021

Australia’s most complained about advertisements from the first six months of 2021 show continuing community concern about discrimination against and vilification of people in advertising content, and issues relating to health and safety.


The most complained about ad of 2021 so far was seen on free-to-air TV and showed a man urinating on a building in promotion of an online domain provider. Complainants raised a number of issues including discrimination against men, suggestions of nudity, and unhygienic behaviour. The complaints were upheld and the ad was removed.
 

Three of the ten advertisements listed were found by the Ad Standards Community Panel to breach the advertising Codes and Initiatives. Complaints against two of these were upheld under the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Motor Vehicle Advertising Code for showing unsafe driving practices.
 

This year’s list of advertisements received 496 complaints between them, the lowest recorded in the history of Ad Standards’ reporting on mid-year case and complaint statistics. Seventeen advertisements have already been withdrawn this year after advertisers voluntarily modified or discontinued the offending content.

These combined measures indicate advertiser’s continued support for and compliance with the advertising self-regulatory system.
 

Overall, Ad Standards has received 2,245 complaints to 30 June, with 639 of these contributing to the 162 cases assessed by the Community Panel under one or more of the advertising Codes and Initiatives.
 

  1. 0122/21 – Crazy Domains – TV – Free-to-air
    The advertisement depicts a man urinating on a building.
    Upheld
    Number of complaints: 283
    Issues of concern: 2.1 – Discrimination or vilification, 2.4 – Sex, sexuality or nudity, 2.6 – Health and safety
     
  2. 0089/21 – Aussie Broadband – TV – Free-to-air
    There are multiple versions of this advertisement showing people in their gardens using a hose. The words ‘freaking’ and bloody’ are used.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 74
    Issues of concern: 2.1 – Discrimination or vilification, 2.5 – Language, 2.6 – Health and safety
     
  3. 0075/21 – South Australia Police – TV – Free-to-air
    The advertisement follows a young man driving home from a pub. He passes a number of situations consistent with drink driving and in his interior monologue he can be heard calling himself a ‘selfish prick’ for drink-driving.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 47
    Issues of concern: 2.1 – Discrimination or vilification, 2.5 – Language
     
  4. 0073/21 – IAG Insurance – TV – Free-to-air
    The advertisement documents two children’s actions to save the Koalas’ homes after discovering a number of trees have been marked for removal.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 17
    Issues of concern: 2.6 – Health and safety
     
  5. 0109/21 – Huddle – TV – Free-to-air
    There are three versions of this advertisement, two featuring a woman and her niece and one featuring a woman by a pool.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 16
    Issues of concern: 2.1 – Discrimination or vilification, 2.5 – Language, 2.6 – Health and safety
     
  6. 0138/21 – Universal Pictures – TV – Free-to-air
    There are two versions of this advertisement promoting the movie “The Conjuring – The Devil Made Me Do It”.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 15
    Issues of concern: 2.3 – Violence
     
  7. 0036/21 – KIA Automotive Australia – TV – Free-to-air
    The advertisement shows three vehicles driving together and simultaneously performing a J turn.
    Upheld
    Number of complaints: 15
    Issues of concern: FCAI 2(a) – Unsafe driving, FCAI 2(b) – Breaking the speed limit
     
  8. 0044/21 – Volvo Car Australia – TV – Free-to-air
    The advertisement features various scenes of parents running around after children. It then shows a woman falling asleep behind the wheel of a car and the car automatically engaging the Lane Keeping Aid.
    Upheld
    Number of complaints: 12
    Issues of concern: FCAI 2(d) – Fatigue-drugs-alcohol, Code of Ethics 2.6 – Health and safety
     
  9. 0103/21 – eHarmony – TV – Free-to—air
    The television advertisement has four versions featuring various couples.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 9
    Issues of concern: 2.4 – Sex, sexuality or nudity, 2.6 – Health and safety
     
  10. 0078/21 – Reckitt Benckiser – TV – Free-to-air
    The television ad depicts people using water in various different situations, with a voiceover stating facts about water usage in Australia and the #FinishWaterWaste initiative.
    Dismissed
    Number of complaints: 8
    Issues of concern: AANA Environmental Code 1 – Truth and Factual, 3 – Substantiation