Television commercials have dominated the list of this year’s most complained-about ads, which was released this month by Australia’s advertising watchdog.
A total of 3,400 complaints were lodged with the Ad Standards Board in relation to over 360 advertisements broadcast across free-to-air TV, pay TV and TV on-demand.
Taking the lead was a Baywatch-themed automotive ad that attracted more than 300 complaints about nudity. Aussie viewers were also offended by a suggestive men’s deodorant ad and Aldi’s ad featuring a flying flock of bananas.
Check out the ads that most annoyed Australians this year.
1. Ultra Tune’s Bay Watch themed ad
In the winning position is Ultra Tune Australia’s Baywatch-themed ad starring none other than Pamela Anderson.
The ad rubbed hundreds of viewers up the wrong way, prompting 300 complaints about the ad’s crude sexualisation of women.
“I am no prude but once again it portrays females as nothing more than ditsy, dumb, sex objects,” said one complainant.
2. ‘Did someone say KFC?’
This ad is the first of three KFC ads to secure a spot in the top 10 complained-about ads and, like the others, is no longer available on KFCs official YouTube channel.
The ad begins with a young woman looking at her reflection in the window of a parked car while on her way to a festival. She checks herself from behind before the car window winds down revealing two young boys and an unimpressed mother starring back at her.
“I consider the ad inappropriate as it appears to sexualise children. Please remove this ad as it is not in accordance with your code of ethics regarding children,” one complainant said.
3. KFC’s “I love you” ad
Viewers took issue with this KFC ad because it depicted sexual behaviour among teenagers.
The ad opens with a close-up image of a teenage boy saying “I love you” to a girl. The couple are then suggestively shown in bed before the scene cuts to an awkward silence. The ad ends with the boy eating KFC with two male friends, and the girl is nowhere to be seen.
“I object to the man being on top of the woman in bed together. To me it is blatant sexual advertising,” one complainant said.
4. Modibodi sanitary underwear ad
Period and incontinence underwear brand Modibodi is not known to sugar coat its products.
The first of its two ads to make it on the list features several menstruating women, one looking into the mirror, another in a bathroom cubical, and a third lying in foetal position on a bed.
However, some viewers took issue with the scenes, which were aired on pay-TV.
“I was offended to the point of being disturbed by this ‘bloody’ disgusting ad,” one complainant said.
5. Yes, another KFC ad
This 30-second ad begins with a boy sleeping during an exam. When his teacher wakes him up, he looks around before he notices a boy with a bucket of chicken outside.
The student says “bucket” and then flees the classroom without completing his exam. In the final scene, a group of boys sit outside eating the bucket of fried chicken.
“The ad encourages students to swear at their teachers, skip tests and get fat eating KFC. This is completely inappropriate,” one complainant said.
6. Modibodi #2
Despite the Ad Standard’s committee finding this ad was within the advertising code, viewers still complained about its depiction of blood and sanitary items.
Modibodi’s second unpopular ad aired across on-demand platforms and was a similar take on the previously listed pay-TV version.
“I feel that this type of ad if it needed to be shown that 8pm is not appropriate. I felt it was degrading to women. We don’t show men’s body products in their underwear,” one complainant said.
7. ReVamped Energy
In this ad for the electricity provider ReAmped Energy, a young girl enters her bedroom with a new nightlight. She places it on her bedside table and it comes to life. The nightlight then tells the girl how cheap ReAmped Energy is, using language that offended some viewers.
“My children watch this as it is connected to PG programs we watch. My children have asked if the toys are swearing. This is suggestive, bad language,” one complainant said.
8. Aldi’s flying bananas
Aldi Australia’s ‘good but different’ ads are often attention-grabbing, however, this flying banana ad seems to have attracted attention for the wrong reasons.
After a father points to what appears to be a flock of flying bananas, his son tosses a stone into the air and knocks a bunch to the ground.
“The implication is it’s ok to throw stones at a flock of birds — potentially causing harm or death. I understand the imagery is about bananas … but it’s in pretty poor taste,” one complainant said.
9. Tradie deodorant
Viewers took issue with three versions of this Tradie deodorant ad because they featured sexual innuendos between men and promoted solvent abuse.
“It is disgusting to see a man sniffing and rubbing his nose in another man’s armpit and go to bite his nipple,” one complainant said.
10. Snoop Dog raps for Menulog
This Menulog ad is stylised like a music video and features the notorious Snoop Dog rapping about ordering fried rice from the food delivery platform.
“The ad is sleezy depicting the rapper lounging around on a bed with several girls, almost as if they were hired girls of the night, to put it politely, not to mention being very sexist,” one complainant said.
“Get rid of it!”