Media releases

Top 10 complaints highlight ‘ick factor’

The ‘ick’ and ‘eek’ factors have been highlighted in this year’s list of most complained about advertisements, according to new figures from the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

“Preliminary stats show that around 5600 complaints about advertisements were received in 2014, and many of these complaints were due to uncomfortable scenes in advertisements,” ASB, Chief Executive Officer, Ms Fiona Jolly said.

The most complained about ad in 2014 was for an online dating website, aimed at married people looking to have an affair, with 481 people lodging complaints against the ad. Another ad for a takeaway service that used scenes reminiscent of the last supper received 228 complaints. One advertiser had three separate ads in the top 10, which featured nose-picking and farting, with a total of 636 complaints received about all three ads.

In 2014 the Advertising Standards Board (the Board) found that none of the 10 most complained about advertisements breached the code.

“While people may not wish to see ‘ick-factor’ images of nose-picking or farting on TV, or about dating sites for married people, the content of these advertisements do not breach the Codes.

“When the Board considers an advertisement, they can only consider the content of the advertisement, not the product being advertised, and can only consider the specific sections of the Code of Ethics,” Ms Jolly said.

“Our stats reveal that complaints this year were boosted by a number of ‘big ticket’ ads, with the 10 most complained about ads this year making up over 35 per cent of total complaint numbers,” she said.

A record number of complaints were received in 2014, the most since the Bureau was established in 1998. Well over the previous record of 4,044 in 2006.

Ms Jolly said one reason complaint numbers increased was a growing awareness of the ASB, generated through a public awareness television campaign.

“Also significant is that although we received a record number of complaints, the actual number of ads complained about isn’t any higher than usual,” Ms Jolly said.

“We received complaints about 552 ads in 2014, an increase from last year but still less than the 595 ads in 2009,” Ms Jolly said.

Of the ads found to breach the Code in 2014, most received fewer than five complaints.

“Advertisers whose ads have breached the Code continue to comply with the Board’s determinations and have withdrawn or modified their ad,” Ms Jolly said.

Case reports about advertisements considered by the Advertising Standards Board during 2014 can be viewed on the ASB website www.adstandards.com.au. The list of the 10 most complained about advertisements follows.

 

Most complained about ads in 2014

1. 0307/14 Ashley Madison - Avid Life
TV ad featuring  married men singing ‘I'm looking for someone other than my wife’.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 481

2. 0277/14 My Plates
TV ad featuring a man repeatedly passing wind in a car.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 250

3. 0178/14 Menulog
TV ad featuring a Da Vinci character painting the last supper.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 228

4. 0276/14 My Plates
TV ad featuring a man picking his nose and wiping it on a car door.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 206

5. 0069/14 Johnson & Johnson Pacific Pty Ltd
TV ad highlighting embarrassing menstrual experiences.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 185

6. 0201/14 Ultra Tune Australia
TV ad featuring two women wearing rubber visiting a tyre store.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 181

7. 0281/14 My Plates
TV ad featuring a man picking his nose and wiping it on a car door, his finger is pixelated.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 180

8. 0438/14 Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses
Billboard pictures a horse lying on its side and the words ‘Is the party really worth it?’
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 152

9. 0087/14 Johnson & Johnson Pacific Pty Ltd
TV ad highlighting different embarrassing menstrual experiences.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 146

10. 0014/14 Meat and Livestock Australia
TV ad featuring Sam Kekovich promoting the consumption of lamb on Australia Day.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 80

 

Most complained about ads since 1998

1. 0307/14 Ashley Madison - Avid Life
TV ad featuring a married men singing ‘I'm looking for someone other than my wife’.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 481

2. 156/07 Nando’s Australia Pty Ltd
TV ad featuring a woman in a business suit describes how she can’t afford to have cravings at work, she is then shown in a g-string and pole dancing.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 359

3. 450/09 GASP Denim
Five images of a young topless woman wearing different pairs of tight-fitting jeans
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 297

4. 410/06 Stuart Alexander and Co
TV ad featuring a man’s nipples get longer as he eats Mentos and he walks around town using them to do various things.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 283.

5. 20/07 Advanced Medical Institute
This outdoor advertisement features red words on a yellow background reading ‘want longer lasting sex?’
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 265

6. 0277/14 My Plates
TV ad featuring a man repeatedly passing wind in a car.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 250

7. 0178/14 Menulog
TV ad featuring a Da Vinci character painting the last supper.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 228

8. 0284/10 Advanced Medical Institute
A woman is trying to reach for a jar in a cupboard. She calls to her husband to help. He opens his robe and she looks over him with awe. She then appears to stand on his erect penis to reach the jar.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 227

9. 0176/11 Queensland Association for Healthy Communities
Billboard with the words ‘Rip & Roll’ written in large letters across the centre, with an image of a red condom in its wrapper and two men: one man is embracing the other man from behind while holding a red condom wrapper.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 222

10. 284/05 Advanced Medical Institute
TV ad showing two men in tuxedos standing behind grand piano - they drop pants and undies and start playing the piano with their penises.
Dismissed. Number of complaints: 217