The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has released figures on the most complained about ads of 2017 so far. Two thirds of complaints submitted to the agency were in response to misleading ads, the rest were generally offensive.
TV ads received the most complaints, followed by the internet, e-mail, radio and poster, with men complaining more than women.
Here are the most complained about ads of the year and the reason why:
McDonald’s Restaurants – 255 complaints
McDonald’s ad titled ‘Things in Common’ was accused of using child bereavement to sell fast food by grief support groups. The TV ad, which featured a young boy asking his mother what he had in common with his deceased father, was considered to be inappropriate. The ad was aired around Father’s Day which didn’t help matters. McDonald’s withdrew the ad, with no further investigation by the ASA.
Match.com – 293 complaints
A Match.com advert showing two women passionately kissing after getting home from work, received the second largest number of complaints, despite being aired several years ago. Complaints were focused around the ad being sexually explicit and inappropriately scheduled. The ASA did not consider the ad to cause widespread offence, but prevented it being shown around TV programs popular with children.
MoneySupermarket – 455 complaints
MoneySupermarket’s twerking ‘dance off’ clip featuring Dave in his cutoff jeans and high heels had the highest number of complaints. Viewers objected saying that it was offensive, overtly sexual, and possibly homophobic with the potential to encourage hate crimes. The ASA did not see any grounds for investigation, whilst they agreed that it could be seen as distasteful by some, it was unlikely to cause wide spread offence.
Combined, the three ads contributed to a total of 5,172 complaints about television campaigns, the most of any medium in the first half of this year.