Most complained about in far

Statistics for the most complained about ads so far in 2014 are in stark contrast to last year. In 2013 there were just 65 complaints about the year’s most complained about ad. Already in 2014 there have been five cases which have received well over 65 complaints.

The two most complained about ads this year were from the same campaign promoting sanitary products, with over 300 complaints between the two ads. In 2012 the most complained about ad, with 149 complaints, was from the same advertiser about a similar product.

All but one of the 10 most complained about ads were seen on TV, with only one internet ad making the list. This ad was part of the same campaign as one of the TV ads.

The Advertising Standards Board has dismissed complaints about each of the 10 most complained about advertisements.

Most complained about ads January to June 2014

  1. 0069/14 Johnson & Johnson Pacific Pty Ltd
    TV ad highlighting embarrassing menstrual experiences.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 185
  2. 0087/14 Johnson & Johnson Pacific Pty Ltd
    TV ad highlighting different embarrassing menstrual experiences.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 146
  3. 0178/14 Menulog
    TV ad depicting a series of Australian characters within a scene reminiscent of the historical work of art created by Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last supper.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 117
  4. 0014/14 Meat and Livestock Australia
    TV ad featuring Sam Kekovich promoting the consumption of lamb on Australia Day.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 80
  5. 0068/14 Sportingbet Australia Pty Ltd
    TV ad showing Shane Warne facing his fear of spiders as part of a $5000 bet.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 59
  6. 0052/14 Beiersdorf Aust Ltd
    TV ad for deodorant depicting a stressed man lying on the couch while his wife is full of energy.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 52
  7. 0013/14 Meat and Livestock Australia
    Internet ad featuring Sam Kekovich promoting the consumption of lamb on Australia Day.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 41
  8. 0146/14 St Johns Ambulance WA
    TV ad showing a mother unable to save her drowning child.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 34
  9. 0135/14 Beiersdorf Aust Ltd
    TV ad showing a woman in the shower using body wash.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 22
  10. 0201/14 Ultra Tune Australia
    TV ad showing two women wearing rubber outfits visiting a workshop to look at tyres.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints 20


50 comment

  • Cialis pills - 27 March 2018 - 7:13am

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  • Susan Reynolds - 9 October 2015 - 7:39am

    Dear Sir,
    I am concerned about the adds for gambling shown on free to air TV. I was watching the 6pm news on channel9 (NSW). At every add break an add for gambling was shown. What concerns me is the time it was shown as I do not think this is appropriate for children, (particularly primary school age) to be watching this; a later time slot would be better ; say after 9.30pm.
    We have addressed issues of gambling as in hotels and clubs, and we do not want to encourage gambling or "normalise" it at such an early age .
    Yours faithfully
    Susan Reynolds

  • Jimmy - 16 April 2015 - 9:36pm

    In response to Kirsten Boardman (10 December 2014):
    I agree with Kirsten. When the ad comes on I feel like muting the tv asap, the ad makes me extremely uncomfortable and that the stupid jingle sticks in your head If you can't escape it quick enough.
    I'm aware it's now been dumped but it didn't happen nearly quick enough for my liking.

  • Mel - 14 February 2015 - 2:11am

    In response to Michelle (31 August 2014):
    I agree its disgusting

  • Ad Standards - 22 January 2015 - 10:05am

    In response to Kath (22 January 2015):
    Once an advertisement has been reviewed by the Board, the advertisement will not be considered again for five years. However we still record each additional complaint lodged through the website, and forward a copy of every complaint to the advertiser. The complaint numbers listed here are for the total complaints up until the end of 2014. These will be updated at the end of 2015.

  • Kath - 22 January 2015 - 1:00am

    I would like to add my complaint about the disgusting Ashley Madison ad which encourages men to cheat on their wives/partners. But when I went to lodge a complaint many had already been received and all had been dismissed. The website then has a list of how many complaints were received. When do you stop counting? When you have dismissed the complaints? I'd like to add my complaint and there should be a place for people to add their name to the already lodged complaints so the Advertising Board can know that thousands more people object to this commercial.

  • Eve - 12 January 2015 - 4:11am

    In response to Annoyed (29 August 2014):
    Absolutely agree. I'm often up late and it makes me cringe every time I see it. The channels that show it should be ashamed of themselves!

  • Gavin - 11 January 2015 - 10:10pm

    Hmm, must be about the money hey

  • Gavin - 11 January 2015 - 9:49pm

    Lmao... and i was actually going to write to you people, but after reading what i have read there does not seem to be much point. It was not so much a complaint that i had but more of a observation. Yes, the health insurace companies, in past years up to the present time i have watched their commercials and in not one them has the actor said 'yes i am a smoker'. Unbalanced and not at all objective i would say, but then what do i know, i'm not a lawyer. Also, while i am here, the RACQ continual portrayal of men as the incompetent partner of the relationship. Eg. (and my favorite old one) Charter boat? What charter boat! Unreal... If women were continually portrayed in the same fashion the feminist lesbians would be beating your door dowm. Lmao.... ASB, what a croc.

  • Yohan Wijey - 10 December 2014 - 2:10pm

    In reponse to Ad Standards (7 July 2014):
    I don't see the point in raising concerns with the ASB as everything is dismissed. Depicting something religious in a comedic fashion is apparently acceptable to these guys "codes" and so called "standards"

  • Kirsten Boardman - 10 December 2014 - 1:13am

    THAT ad is totally revolting to me. Encouraging partners to cheat on their others is unbelievably rude and degrading to WIVES/PARTNERS!
    A complete disgrace. Also brings up issues in relationships, should a couple have been through one having had an affair.

    PS, The tune is ####### annoying. Of course, their ploy. But incredibly irritating when trying to sleep and having that ######## song playing in your head.

    Go wake up Ashley - my partner was uncomfortable every time the ad comes up and he agrees that the ad crosses the line.

  • samantha - 7 December 2014 - 2:04am

    How can tv let this site on i think its disgusting how they are encouraging people to cheat on their spouse it some place and religons to wrong to cheat and it cause mean death to the person that cheats everytime i see it on tv it makes me sick!!! I highly recommend that it be removed

  • Bill Glenn - 12 November 2014 - 10:00pm

    Not one of these complaints were acted on! Seems a little ineffectual does it not.

  • Wesley - 6 November 2014 - 12:24am

    In response to Bianca (4 July 2014):
    Dear Bianca,
    After watching the advertisement in question, I can say that I strongly disagree with your complaint. I would argue that imagery of "the last supper"as painted by Leonardo da Vinci is equally a part of popular culture and just because you have strong feelings about a particular artist's work does not give you ownership of it. Also the ad is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. I would back this up by noting that the characters in the ad own an iPad, speak fluent Australian English and are ordering something over the internet, none of which would have been likely to occur in the'last supper'you are referring to. With reference to your 'negative and disrespectful characteristics'when recreating any media media creators are allowed to use some artistic licence when portraying characters and events. Da Vinci himself made the characters of western descent rather than middle-eastern. People are allowed to have opinions that differ from your own and just because you choose to take offense to a recreation of a painting based on a text you personally hold as important, does not mean that it should be removed from television.

  • josh - 26 October 2014 - 1:32am

    Im not one to complain but in this case i feel i have to say something.
    I recently saw an ad about how you have standards when it comes to advertising alcohol. did you know that alcohol kills 60 people a week in australia? and is the massive cause of broken families. so the fact that you promote alcohol at all just shows that you have no standards or morals. you might as well promote cigarettes and cocaine.

  • Dianne - 12 October 2014 - 12:42am

    I would like to know how to permanently out of ALL MOVING ADS like the current one that has 6 hand massaging a woman's face. Anything that is moving on my screen is detrimental to my health. I suffer from chronic migraines and those ads are migraine triggers! Please pass that information on and tell me how to get it stopped.

  • Sophia - 25 September 2014 - 11:27pm

    I agree with the above about life-death insurance ads. It has gotten ridiculous, reminding us constantly that we are going to die. Please control such ads and the amount shown!
    Also, I am disgusted with Annebelle's ad being advertised constantly like it is the only movie being shown at the cinema. It is horrifying having that ad shown every few minutes and before 10pm and they continue in every single break!!! I don't want to watch that ad again and again! If I wanted to watch it I would go to the cinema. I have the TV on and I am bombarded with terrifying noises and images. Before that it was the conjuring and it seems like some channels advertise only the worst horror movies in excess. Remove ads like these.
    Ashley Maddison is also a disgrace, I agree with the rest and it should be removed.

  • :) - 5 September 2014 - 2:59pm

    In response to Jane Adams (8 August 2014):
    um ok

  • Michelle - 31 August 2014 - 4:13am

    I am disgraced at the Ashley Madison advertisement.. It depicts men looking for extra marital affairs behind the wifes back & to my understanding this is as bad as bigamy. Something that a person can be charged with. Remove it please & the sooner the better.

  • Annoyed - 29 August 2014 - 2:29am

    The advertiser, Ashley Madison (or Madison Ashley) shouldn't be shown. Its saying that its ok to lie, cheat and disrespect their partners. This company has no integrity. What sort of people build a business based on this type of behaviour? Its sick. I'd put a complaint through but apparently its not able to be complained about because you can't complain about content, but only "how" they're advertising. To make the Ad Standards take notice of this I need to complain that its sexist or racist. So wrong. Get it off the air.

  • Ad Standards - 22 August 2014 - 10:13am

    In response to Jared (21 August 2014):
    Hi Jared
    The Board has considered complaints about this advertisement and has cleared it. You can read the Board's determination in the case report:

  • Jared - 21 August 2014 - 10:38pm

    To whom it may concern,

    I wish to complain about the nature of the Saint John Ambulance First Aid advertisement currently being aired on public television. I find the content and graphic nature of the advert offencive and quite brutal. Please remove the advert or change the content.

    Thank you.

  • Jane Adams - 8 August 2014 - 10:59am

    I don't like the new beyond blue ad. I understand that indigenous Australian are sometimes treated badly but seriously what about the rest of us? the amount of times I have bullied at work and school is just horrible but because I'm white that is okay is it? I would love to be able to get support for the issues I have but no, I don't get that help. It's not easy being un unattractive person in this world and being an unattractive women is harder. I have been told on a few occasions that I shouldn't bread and I should just die. yet again do I get help? no. If I was a native for sure. This country sux!!

  • Roland Mac again - 7 August 2014 - 10:59pm

    Well mr & mrs ad standards, After reading quite a number of blogs relating to the discust regarding the man plates i would suggest it is time you raised the bar and bought a jeep

  • Roland Mcintosh - 4 August 2014 - 3:17pm

    In response to Rachel (22 July 2014):
    Well what a weak bodied organization .I hope my taxes are not paying any wages to them. if so i would sack the lot. The fact that so many people are offended by this rubbish formed by persons with sick minds, should be reason enough.Iam pretty broard minded and enjoy a bit of comedy with taste or tounge in cheek ocassionally but how much longer do we have to put up with this repeated crap in our faces.

  • David - 31 July 2014 - 3:45pm

    Very disappointing to see so many complaints about the Menulog ad depicting the Last Supper dismissed based on the response from the company. It seems that Jesus and Christianity are just fair game for any advertiser looking for the quick dollar. One wonders what it takes to constitute an affront to the Christian religion as opposed to other religions.

  • nadine - 30 July 2014 - 10:04pm

    In response to Bianca (4 July 2014):
    I have also complained about this ad and it was totally dismissed. Is really disgusting that they continue to air this ad when it is discrimination and total MOCKERY TO ALL CHRISTIANS AND JESUS CHRIST ! THIS WAS A VERY SPECIAL MOMENT JESUS SHARED BEFORE HE'S LIFE GIVING MOMENT. I bet this had been about the MUSLIMS THEIR WOULD BE RIOTS AND MEDIA COVERAGE WITH IMMEDIATE APOLOGISES AND EVEN JAIL SENTENCING! I'm totally sickened by this neglect, rejection,and discrimination that is allowing these commercials to be aired against Christians and JESUS CHRIST!

  • Jennifer Bourke - 28 July 2014 - 2:36pm

    I think the number plate ad is dreadful and yes it offends me. I teach my daughters to be ladies. The ad is unacceptable.

  • Alyson Reid-Frost - 27 July 2014 - 12:54pm

    In response to Leonard (18 July 2014):
    I have made a complaint about this Ad but I don't like the chances of getting it taken down. As is often said you can change channels which I do! Who wants a man pick his nose or pass wind at any time let alone while having dinner!

  • Shell - 24 July 2014 - 12:54pm

    Totally agree with the bombardment of life insurance advertising! Also the in show advertisements for face creams, vacuum cleaners etc etc that are played during morning shows as well as the tv advertisements. Are there no regulations to the amount of advertising allowed? Also this practise of not disclosing the full amount of products but giving free trials ( as long as credit card details are given) is scurrilous especially since many complaints are listed online about the automatic payment taken from the card almost immediately and the impossibility of deciding not to continue with the product. These advertiser are not ethical and at the very least incredibly annoying!

  • Rachel - 22 July 2014 - 8:32pm

    In response to James (14 July 2014):
    I AM IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT-not only is the ad you wrote about dreadful, but so us the alternative version aired tonight during the X factor where a man picks his nose and wipes it on the door interior....I intend to lodge a complaint about this totally inappropriate ad and the time slot it is being aired in. Congratulations for also having standards.

  • Sharon - 21 July 2014 - 9:36pm

    In response to James (14 July 2014):
    I totally agree! My young grandchildren are sitting here watching a grown man pick his nose while I am sitting here trying to teach them not to!?!

    If they wanted to get the point of manproofing the cars across, all they needed was a dirty, sweaty , grotty man after a hard days work get into the car, not the vulgarity they are displaying!

  • Alyson Reid-Frost - 20 July 2014 - 9:48pm

    In response to Ad Standards (15 July 2014):
    I agree with you in regards to this ad. It was on during Voice Kids. In my view it sends the wrong message to children in regards to "polite" behavior! We teach our children "manners" yet this "trashy" behavior is shown on TV. It's not funny and, in my view, most people would not rush out and buy a set plates because of it. It's just a distasteful ad that needs to be taken down.

  • Leonard - 18 July 2014 - 9:33pm

    I would like to complain about the advert on free to air television in regard to

    the man picking his nose in a car, without going into the details I guess it should disgust

    many people. I always turn the channel because it makes me feel sick.

    Hope it is removed very quickly

  • Jason - 17 July 2014 - 12:06am

    Ads should be employing best practice with regard to language and punctuation. Ads on TV, the web and in print are constantly abusing exclamation marks. It is painful to look at.

    This website also does it in the red icon button on the home page. One exclamation mark is sufficient. Three are too many. Please fix it thanks. And have a nice day.

  • Lucy - 17 July 2014 - 12:05am

    In response to Ad Standards (15 July 2014):
    You are not wrong! My sister and I were discussing these points and after seeing an ad for the ad standards website while watching tv, I decided that i'd make a complaint. However after reading how many cases have been dismissed / seeing how many ads are deemed "acceptable" because they're not breaching any rules is an utter joke. Sexism is not okay. Even the basic cooking/cleaning commercials - unless a well known male chef is advertising the brand, it is always a woman cooking/cleaning/discussing stains. Really?!

  • Ad Standards - 16 July 2014 - 1:56pm

    In response to Camilla H (16 July 2014):
    The intent of the addition of the exploitative and degrading section to the AANA Code of Ethics was to not ban the use of attractive women in advertising, but a way to address complaints received about the most offensive images. The policy makers, in this instance the AANA, considered this was an appropriate way to deal with this issue.

  • Camilla H - 16 July 2014 - 12:00am

    In response to Ad Standards 15 July 2014:
    I have some questions around the reasoning behind the 'Windsor Smith' case study.

    1."The Board considered that the advertisement presents the women as attractive and as equal participants in the „fashion show‟ style image"
    - what was the reasoning behind this being perceived as a 'fashion show' manner?

    2. "The Board noted the complainants‟ concerns that the advertisement objectifies women and is sexist in its depiction of them dressed in clothing similar to swimwear while the men are fully clothed,"

    - Considering this in conjunction with very pornographic poses (girl bending over twice) and camera focusing on female's bottoms and breasts several times in the ad, what was the reasoning behind the decision to this not discriminating against or vilifying people? Other than being not uncommon in advertising for fashion - bringing me to my next question...

    3. "The Board considered that the use in the advertisement of scantily clad women provides a contrast to the well-dressed men but considered that this is not uncommon in advertising for fashion items.."
    - which examples where used to determined this statement? And what is the Bureau's standpoint in industry sexism, does other sexist and/or degrading ads justify another?

    4. If the ad has to be BOTH exploiting and degrading of a person in order to be in breach of the code- is it not time to update the Code? Myself and what I believe many others feel, having a degrading OR exploiting ad is enough to feel at unease.

    The race might be lost on this ad, but hopefully similar sexist ads will be dismissed, not the complaint.

  • Ad Standards - 15 July 2014 - 2:15pm

    In response to James (14 July 2014):
    We encourage people to lodge a complaint if they are offended by an ad.The advertisement you mention has received complaints and will be considered by the Board at its next meeting.

  • Ad Standards - 15 July 2014 - 12:57pm

    In response to Liz Sparkes (15 July 2014):
    We encourage people to lodge a complaint if they are offended by an ad. All cases considered by the Board are published on our website. Case reports include the reasoning behind the Board's determinations. The Board includes 20 people from a broad range of age groups and backgrounds and is gender balanced – representative of the diversity of Australian society.

  • Liz Sparkes - 15 July 2014 - 1:06am

    When I first saw this site advertised as a way for us to make an official complaint about advertising which we found offensive, I rejoiced....

    Now after searching case studies, your responses & the dismisses that follow... I wonder why you encourage people to complain.....

    To say the Ultra-tune ad depicting women in leather, Windsor Smith ad with barely clad women, Nivea, the shower body wash ad with a women on show, is anything less than sexualising women is rubbish... If these ad are not doing precisely that then why are they placing women in these ads in these cloths and NOT men.... Women have been prostituted long enough...... If this is the standards we are setting for our daughters, then I'd suggest we tell them NOT to bother to gain an education and be seen for their intelligence and instead go to a brothel & get better paid than prostituting themselves in Ads....

    Now my question to the advertising board... What percentage are MEN?????

  • James - 14 July 2014 - 8:30pm

    I've never visited here before, and I'm not sure this is 'compaint' worthy? Just want to run it past those who read this.

    There has been an TV advert running recently from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) for number plates that are designed for 'girly cars'. They are pink and have images and such.

    The advert itself features a man driving presumably his wifes car, and whilst sitting inside it he farts very loudly and lets out a sigh of relief. He then tenses up again to repeat, and that's where the advert about the number plates designed to stop a man driving your car is explained.

    It's a pretty juvenile advert, but my concern is the time of day that it is run. Our whole family saw it tonight at about 6pm. I would have thought this kind of puerile fart gag humour is more worthy of a later time slot of say 8:30pm or so.

    Pretty embarrassing having to explain to a 4yo and 6yo what it's about.

    What are people's thoughts? Am I over reacting? I hope that this blog is an OK post to make here?

    Thanks for reading.

  • Ad Standards - 9 July 2014 - 11:15am

    In response to Sarah (8 July 2014):
    Hi Sarah,

    The Advertising Standards Board found that none of these ads breached any of the advertising codes. They don't take into account how many complaints an ad receives, one complaint is taken as seriously as 100 complaints.

    While none of the top 10 ads were upheld so far this year, there have others that were upheld. In 2013 61 ads were found to breach the codes, nearly 15 per cent of all ads considered by the Board.

    The ASB online complaints form does include screening questions to ensure that the ASB is the right organisation to process your complaint. There are mandatory fields in the complaints form including your postal address for correspondence purposes, but you have an option to keep your personal details confidential from the advertiser. The collection of personal information enables the Bureau to validate the complaint’s authenticity and to correspond with complainants throughout the complaints process.

    The online complaints form should not be time-consuming or extensive; it provides questions in order for the ASB to identify the specific advertisement, the reasons for your complaint and correspond with you regarding the process. This free, easy to use, online complaints system has been in place for more than five years, and in that time the ASB has continually updated and improved the process in line with feedback received through a variety of channels, including community research.

    If you would like to make a complaint about an advertisement, please submit a complaint through our online complaints form, alternatively you can post a letter or send a fax. You may keep your personal details such as your postal address confidential if requested.

  • Sarah - 8 July 2014 - 2:13pm

    So this blog states more people are taking action to share their complaints - good on them - and "The Advertising Standards Board has dismissed complaints about each of the 10 most complained about advertisements". So how many complaints are acted upon? That statement, coupled with the lengthy process and personal details required for your web form complaints don't seem to promote use of your services at all. I came to this site after spotting an ad on the back of a bus today I thought completely unnecessarily objectified the young model to sell fans - complete with the headline 'Get Blown...' Your stats and boast about none of the top complaints being acted upon sounds like it's pointless following through with a formal complaint.

  • Ad Standards - 7 July 2014 - 10:34am

    In response to Bianca (4 July 2014):
    Hi Bianca, thank you for your comments.

    The Advertising Standards Board has considered this advertisement. You can see the case report and determination here:

  • Paul - 5 July 2014 - 12:15am

    In response to Michelle (1 July 2014):
    Totally agree with Michelle,it's over the top. Also how many commercials in a specific time frame is enough? I'm constantly being carpet bombed with commercials to the extent where I'm seriously thinking of removing the TV for good.

    All I want to do is watch the odd program in peace without being subjected to relentless / in most cases ridicules adverts. I recon it's about 50/50 now and I've just about had enough the debilitating consumerism.

  • Natalie - 4 July 2014 - 2:48pm

    That is totally true it was appauling I hope they remove it

  • Natalie - 4 July 2014 - 2:41pm

    In response to Bianca (4 July 2014):
    I totally agree, nice use of language they betta agree cause I certainly do.

  • Bianca - 4 July 2014 - 2:40pm

    To whom it may concern,

    Recently while watching television I witnessed a commercial which had utterly disgusted me as it used one of the most sacred events in my religion and used it to promote a website. I am continuously ashamed as I witnessed this ad and would be sincerely grateful if it would be removed.

    This advertisement has been published on several channels, as it promotes the use of a website called . This ad uses the imagery of the last supper in the christian religion to promote this website. It was inappropriate as it used a sacred event to endorse its product.

    When using the sacred event of the last supper it employs a variety of negative characteristics that discriminate, disrespect and abuse this holy event, the humour that this advertisement has conveyed a joke out of this sacramental occasion, this particular humorous abstraction demonstrates that the twelve disciples and Jesus had nothing worthy of their time but to fool around and order a meal (pizza) before Jesus had been crucified on the cross.

    Thus this advertisement has shown and demonstrated a disrespectful attitude towards a particular religion that populates across the globe. Australia being such a diverse country should not tolerate any discrimination towards any cultures, religions or other characteristics of an individual.

    Yours sincerely,


  • Michelle - 1 July 2014 - 10:13am

    It is getting ridiculous the amount of advertising allowed to be aired on life and death insurance. It is over kill and becoming depressing to be bombarded constantly day and night on the subject of death. As a person with depression I was influenced as I am sure others are but it is now over the to as nearly ever ad break contains one of these adverts . I think Australia has the idea of insurance now ingrained in them and it is time to reduce the frequency of these adverts .

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