Most complained about ads from 1998-2018

In a record few months, 2018 has produced two of the most complained about advertisements in Ad Standards’ 20-year history reflecting ongoing community concerns about sexuality and nudity, violence, and health and safety in advertising.

In the top spot is a TV ad showing a man naked from the waist up with his leg up, presumably ‘manscaping’. It received 792 complaints which were upheld by the Ad Standards Community Panel under Section 2.4 of the AANA Code of Ethics on the basis the ad did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience.

The new record second place is a TV ad showing a woman aggressively hitting a piñata in front of a group of children. The 715 community complaints received raised issues of concern about the depiction of anger and violence especially in front of children.

The Community Panel determined that the piñata ad was in breach of the Code of Ethics under Section 2.3, violence, and Section 2.6, health and safety.

Both of these ads beat the 2014 record held by an online dating site for a TV ad showing men singing about looking for women other than their wives which received 643 complaints.

Most complained about ads from 1998-2018:

  1. 0116/18 – Sportsbet – TV
    A man is seen naked from the waist up and appears to be manscaping.
    Upheld. Number of complaints: 792
  2. 0113/18 – iSelect – TV
    A woman aggressively hits a piñata in front of a group of children.
    Upheld. Number of complaints: 715
  3. 0307/14 – Ashley Madison – TV
    Men are singing about looking for someone other than their wives.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 643
  4. 0042/17 – Ultra Tune – TV
    Two women use a fire extinguisher to put out a car fire.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 421
  5. 0024/16 – Ultra Tune – TV
    Two women declaring that they are “into rubber”.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 419
  6. 0017/16 – Meat and Livestock Australia – TV
    Lee Lin Chin organising ‘Operation Boomerang’ to rescue Australians overseas so they can eat lamb on Australia Day.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 376
  7. 156/07 – Nandos – TV
    A woman is seen pole dancing and using Nandos chewing gum. 
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 359
  8. 0423/17 – YouFoodz – TV
    A young boy describes a meal as “unforkin-believable”.
    Upheld. Number of complaints: 307
  9. 0461/17 – Neds – TV
    A man excuses himself from dinner to listen to a telemarketer while using the Neds app on his phone.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 303
  10. 410/06 – Stuart Alexander – TV
    A man’s nipples get longer and he walks around town using them to do various things.
    Dismissed. Number of complaints: 283

6 comment

  • JM - 26 March 2019 - 6:10am

    OMG somebody stop Vagisil!
    Talking about feminine odor, really??? Like balls don't smell. All of this can be taken care of with soap and water. Why this ratchet company is still in business I will never know!

  • MARGARET SPARKS - 21 December 2018 - 5:42pm

    The KFC ad with the obnoxious child who will not eat his dinner and is rewarded with KFC exclaiming "Bucket"! What is this teaching our children? Sharing the KFC with the underprivileged neighbourhood children does not make up for his language and behaviour. Disgusting!

  • Patti McNeill - 20 December 2018 - 11:06am

    I am so sick and tired of the BCFing Guns add. I have no idea why they are singing about BCFing guns. To me they are promoting guns. It is so annoying and is on all the time.

  • Jenny Roberts - 10 December 2018 - 8:58am

    I am complaining about a really embarrassing advert it’s been on twice tonight Sunday 9th Dec 2018. It’s about dry Vaginas it’s advertising Vagisan cream. It’s disgusting.

  • Charles Prause - 28 October 2018 - 3:05pm

    I have noticed in the last six months that a lot of commercials are multi-racial characters is advertising trying to promote mixed couples!

  • john siannoss - 21 May 2018 - 12:55pm

    Annoying funeral and life insurance ads on daytime TV.Surely we as decent Australians can do something.The poor elderly;such as my parents;constantly dombarded by these offensive and poor taste ads.
    Yes these people are old and DO NOT NEED TO BE REMINDED CONSTALY AND ON EVERY CHANNEL THAT THEY ARE GOING TO DIE SOON.
    Surely these blood sucking insurance groups can be banded from advertising these poor taste ads.

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