Top 10 complained about ads in Australia

By Chris Pash | 5 July 2019
The turd we deserve

Ultra Tune, a car servicing business, has again found itself the subject of complaints about its advertising. 

This time it's 161 complaints to Ad Standards calling an ad, featuring actor Charlie Sheen, exploitative, degrading, and objectifing women. 

Ultra Tune has featured in Ad Standards' list of most complained in previous years. 

This time it's a TV clip of four women whose pink convertible goes off a pier into the sea.

Charlie Sheen, who is fishing, makes a comment as the women board his boat that they are all out of towels and he is winning. 

The complaint: "The advertisement portrays women in a very stereotypical and sexual way. They are all wearing short, tight dresses, squealing, driving around in a hot pink car, and crash the car into the water. It reinforces the stereotype of women drivers being incompetent, and women being clueless and vulnerable in general. And then the big brave man comes over to save them, but actually just hopes to get lucky. The sexual comments that Charlie Sheen makes are inappropriate and degrading."

The complaint was upheld by Ad Standards and the ad was modified. 

Ad Standards has released its mid year report on the most complained about advertisments.

Two of the top three most complained about were for horror movie trailers on free-to-air TV, with the level of violence and menace the key issue of concern.

A billboard and a poster advertisement make the top 10 compiled from about 2,000 complaints in the six months to June.

1. Universal Pictures. A film trailer for the movie Us. Number of complaints: 244. Issue of concern: Violence. The complaint was dismissed. 

2. Ultra Tune Australia. Four women crash their car in the ocean. They then board Charlie Sheen’s boat and call Ultra Tune for assistance. Number of complaints: 161. Issues of concern: Discrimination or vilification, Exploitative or degrading, Sex/sexuality/nudity and Health and safety. The complaint was upheld. 

3. Paramount Pictures. A film trailer for the movie Pet Sematary. Number of complaints: 29 Issue of concern: Violence. The complaint was dismissed. 

4. Yum Restaurants International. A grandmother tries to sit on a park bench and instead falls on the ground. The people in the park are shocked but the granddaughter laughs and says, "Did someone say KFC?" Number of complaints: 19
Issues of concern: Discrimination or vilification. The complaint was dismissed. 

5. Mars Wrigley Confectionary. Three women in an office discuss their best weekends while holding different numbers of Maltesers.  Number of complaints: 19. Issues of concern: Sex/sexuality/nudity and Health and safety. The complaint was dismissed.  

6. Procter & Gamble. A man in a campaign advertisement for the The Turd We Deserve. Number of complaints: 17
Issue of concern: Language. The complaint was dismissed.  

7. SA Health. A woman with an artificial voice box talks about cancer. Number of complaints: 17. Issue of concern: Violence. The complaint was dismissed.  

8. Nestle. A man and his son talking about a Breakfast Bake with the son saying, "That’s not how you make porridge." 
Number of complaints: 14. Issue of concern: Discrimination or vilification. The complaint was dismissed.  

9. Honey Birdette – Poster. A woman in lingerie leaning on a motorcycle. Number of complaints: 14. Issue of concern: Exploitative or degrading, Sex/sexuality/nudity and Health and safety. The complaint was upheld. 

10. Thorne Harbour Health – Billboard. A billboard for sexual health testing that featured men in underwear. Number of complaints: 11. Issue of concern: Sex/sexuality/nudity. The complaint was dismissed. 

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