Top 10 most complained about ads of 2015

No matter how good the creative, there will always be someone it doesn’t please and the Advertising Standards Authority is there for people to voice their disgust, outrage, and offense. It’s released a report on the top 10 most complained about ads from last year, so here’s the rundown.

Last year, the ASA received 1,260 enquiries derived from 707 complaints.

The key issues causing concern included ‘misleading’ (299 complaints), ‘social responsibility’ (172 complaints) and ‘taste and decency’ (58 complaints).

The most complained about product categories were: therapeutics (125 complaints), service (71 complaints), entertainment (51 complaints), vehicles/transportation (49 complaints) and household goods (41 complaints).

And now the countdown:

10. Hell Pizza gave some a bad taste with its promotion of its lamb shanks deal. It received four complaints, with the idea of removing a lamb’s leg to eat while it was still alive seen as unacceptable, cruel, distressing to children and misleading as to the source of the lamb shanks.

There were no grounds for the complaints to proceed.

9. A farmer who chose to save his chainsaw rather than a lamb, from a burning farmhouse in a Stihl ad received four complaints.

The complaints were not upheld.

8. Five complainants said an NZTA ad, to highlight the dangers of speed, positioned drivers in a negative light. Questions were raised as to who was to blame for the accident. 

There were no grounds for the complaints to proceed.

7. Hell Pizza makes the list again for its Friday the 13th adverting, which did its job a little too well after five complaints said the image of a many head exploding was disturbingly violent and offensive.

The complaints were upheld.

6. Hyundai also received six complaints for its ‘Get lost’ campaign, after it was found to be disrespectful to adults and annoying.

While it was not liked by some, the ad was not in breach of the advertising codes and there were no grounds for the complaints to proceed.

5. New Zealand Pork caused concern with its ‘Mum’s night off’ campaign. Six complainants suggested the ad had deliberately used outdated stereotypes of both men and women in an ironic manner to encourage more men to cook.

The complaints were not upheld.

4. Eight complaints were received for a Shick Hydro Silk Trim Style razor for women. Complainants found it to be sexist and degrading.

The complaints were not upheld.

3. Toyota caused offense with a Hilux ad featuring animated animals mounted on vehicles after being caught or shot. 13 complaints were received, with a number following the ad was played immediately after a current affairs programme about the horrors of animal cruelty.

The advertiser withdrew the advertisements and apologised to consumers. The complaints were settled.

2. The humour in this scaffolding ad for Access Solutions was found to be a bit of a stretch and received 22 complaints.

Complainants were offended ny the sexualisation of a woman’s body to sell a product.

The complaints were upheld.

1. ‘When love turns Ugly’ for I Love Ugly received 26 complaints for being exploitive of and degrading to women.

The advertiser removed the images and apologised to complainants. The complaints were then settled.

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