Australia's most complained about advertisements in 2019

By AdNews | 23 December 2019

Ad Standards has revealed the most complained about advertisements of 2019

The most complained about, and the second most complained about ad of all time, was for a free-to-air television commercial for sanitary products showing everyday depictions of menstruation.

Ad Standards received more than 730 complaints on this ad citing concerns about sexuality and nudity, discrimination, exploitation, violence, and health and safety.

Second most complained about with 366 complaints was for a TVC for a sports betting app showing protesters, a scam victim and a sports personality. Concerns ranged from discrimination or vilification to sex, sexuality and nudity, and language.

“Sex and nudity, and discrimination or vilification are consistently some of the most complained about issues. This year also shows increased community concern about ads with violence or content which is exploitative or degrading,” says Ad Standards CEO Fiona Jolly.

“Our most complained about advertisements often reflect the community reaction to advertisements which push the boundaries on social issues.

“The advertising self-regulation system provides a mechanism for judging community standards on these social issues, and our most complained about advertisement this year also received a nomination for our Kinder Conditions campaign, and overwhelming expression of public support for the Community Panel’s decision that the advertisement did not breach community standards."

Most complaints in 2019 were about ads seen on free-to-air television, the top ten list this year also includes an outdoor billboard for a horror film, and an ad on social media with discriminatory and health and safety concerns.

In 2019 Ad Standards received nearly 5,500 complaints, with more than 400 cases considered by the Ad Standards Community Panel. 

The ten most complained about ads:

1. Asaleo Care – Libra – TV – Free-to-Air

Various period-related visuals appear on screen promoting the #bloodnormal campaign.

Number of complaints: 738
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, 2.3 - Violence, 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity, 2.6 - Health and safety.

The complaint was dismissed.

2.Sportsbet – TV – Free-to-Air
Protestors, a scam victim and Todd Carney are all promoting the Sportsbet app in stereotypical situations.

The complaint was dismissed.

Number of complaints: 366

Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity, 2.5 - Language, Wagering Code.

3. Universal Pictures – TV – Free-to-Air
Horror movie trailer depicting a family on vacation being terrorised by duplicates of themselves.
The complaint was dismissed.
Number of complaints: 244
Issues of concern: 2.3 - Violence.

4. Ultra Tune Australia – TV – Free-to-Air
Four women lose control of their car and land in the ocean. Charlie Sheen invites them onto his boat and lends his phone to one of the women to call Ultra Tune.
The complaint was Upheld
Number of complaints: 161
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity, 2.6 - Health and safety.

5. Hanes Brand Inc – TV – Free-to-Air
A man holds a piece of technology in front of men’s crotches to detect heat signatures and to promote ‘ball cooling’ underwear.
The complaint was dismissed.
Number of complaints: 69
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity, 2.5 - Language.

6. Pretty Little Thing – TV – Free-to-Air
A woman walks around the desert wearing an assortment of clothing and swimwear items.
The complaint was dismissed.
Number of complaints: 58
Issues of concern: 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity.

7. Love Honey – TV – Free-to-Air
A montage of visuals depicting couples lovingly embracing each other and portraying excitement on their faces.
The complaint was dismissed.
Number of complaints: 46
Issues of concern: 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity.

8. Roadshow Films – Billboard
The images depict the clown in the film ‘IT’ - first version shows a white face and red lines running over the eyes and covering the mouth and the second features only the clown’s eyes.
The complaint was Upheld
Number of complaints: 40
Issues of concern: 2.3 - Violence.

9. Sportsbet – TV – Free-to-Air
A woman in a pageant holds a phone with the screen to the audience which has the Sportsbet app open and promotes its ease of use. A superimposed graphic saying ‘foolproof’ is stamped over the woman’s neck.
The complaint was Upheld
Number of complaints: 31
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, Wagering Code.

10. Downtown Brooklyn – Internet/Social/Facebook
An image of a ‘Reese’s Pieces´ dessert is accompanied by a caption telling people to have their Epipen on hand due to the amount of nuts the desert contains.
The complaint was dismissed.
Number of complaints: 29
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.6 - Health and safety.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus