The top 10 most complained about ads from the first half of 2018

Most complained ads

A screenshot from one of the YouFoodz ads.

Amidst the flurry of legal changes, tax tips, and GST modifications that July 1 brings, the end of the financial year also brings on some moments of joy — namely the Advertising Standard Board’s list of top ad complaints.

The list of most complained about ads from the first half of 2018 doesn’t break much new ground in terms of ad complaints. Gambling, violence, and sex still prevail as the things Australian consumers take issue with most.

Check out 2018’s most complained about ads below, along with some of the choice ad complaints, courtesy of the ASB.

1. Sportsbet’s ‘manscaping’ ad

Number of complaints: 793

Decision: Upheld

The top most complained ad for 2018 so far shows a man in the bathroom with a shaver, taking some time to ‘manscape’ his groin. A voiceover then yells at him, shocking the man and causing him to hurt himself while shaving.

“The ad also employs sexual appeal in a manner that degrades a naked young male by encouraging him to waste money on gambling to increase his sexual appeal rather than personal grooming. This sends a false message to young males that gambling will improve their sexual appeal,” said one complaint.

“It is also gross and creepy seeing a naked man behaving as though he is shaving his genitals in my lounge room.”

2.  iSelect’s ‘pinata’ ad

Number of complaints: 715

Decision: Upheld.

iSelect’s ad shows a woman at a child’s birthday party, before receiving news on her phone about a health insurance rate rise. Losing her temper, she violently beats the pinata in front of a number of shocked children, before being passed the contact details for iSelect.

“I object to the level of violence and aggression demonstrated by the woman. She had a murderous look on her face. The sound of the stick making contact with the rabbit is unsettling. Advertisement also implies that violence to animals is okay,” said one complaint.

“It goes against current attitudes to violence and anger and portrays women in a negative light, and it is shown during family viewing time,” said another.

3.  Ultra Tune’s Mike Tyson cameo

Number of complaints: 134

Decision: Dismissed.

Three women are driving a car, and then have to swerve wildly to avoid a tiger standing in the middle of the road. After hitting a tree, the three women are then visited by convicted sex offender Mike Tyson, before someone from Ultra Tune shows up to help them with their “tiger trouble”.

“This advertisement is exploiting wild animals – in this case a tiger. The very fact that Mike Tyson says he is looking for his tiger Francis is condoning the ownership of wild  animals by individuals which is absolutely inappropriate,” said one complainant.

“The story is objectionable, the girls wearing odd costumes & portrayed as helpless. Being rescued by a convicted sex offender is objectionable,” said another.

4. YouFoodz’ “doin’ it”

Number of complaints: 49

Decision: Dismissed.

A couple sit on the couch, talking about how they “do it” with their friends, neighbours, and even parents. In the end, it’s revealed they’re actually talking about cooking YouFoodz – unbelievable!

“The commercial has used wording which clearly are [sic] used to give the impression they are talking about all the places they have sex, and they have obviously used this language to grab peoples attention, however I feel it is inappropriate and offensive,” one complaint said.

5. KFC’s ‘Mum and Dad naked wrestling’

Number of complaints: 46

Decision: Dismissed.

The ad shows a teacher showing a drawing to two parents done by their child, which is a crudely drawn image of “Mum and Dad naked wrestling”. To diffuse the situation, the mother says “Did someone say KFC?” and the scene switches to the two eating.

“Inappropriate messages about sex and sexuality at a time when they are not being taught in school sex education programs. There is no parent permission or approval for young children to be exposed to sexual connotations,” said one complainant.

6. ’50 Shades Freed’ trailer

Number of complaints: 39

Decision: Upheld

A raunchy trailer for an even raunchier movie about bondage was banned by the watchdog.

“Just don’t think it’s appropriate to be showing the sex scene in this ad so early in the evening. The scene shows a woman tied up, wearing lingerie and a blind fold while a man suggestively touches her. This is not appropriate for young eyes to be seeing,” said one complainant.

7. ARN Jase & PJ ‘Always Awkward’

Number of complaints: 36

Decision: Dismissed.

Two radio hosts get in an elevator, but one has crap in her hair (literally). She bends down in front of the other male host so he can remove it, causing an awkward situation for the unsuspecting woman who opens the elevator door! Morning radio is so crazy!

“It’s [sic] aim is to make you think that the female is giving the male A HEAD JOB! [emphasis theirs] Not only is the content inappropriate, the time which it was aired means small children are still up and being subjected to it!” one complainant said.

8. Neds construction site ad

Number of complaints: 22

Decision: Dismissed

In the advertisement, a number of construction workers on site are sitting around on their mobile phones, presumably placing bets via the Neds gambling app. The homeowner comes to check on the progress of the house, and is fed excuses by the workers as to why construction has halted.

“This ad is encouraging workers, especially tradesmen, to mislead their employers/managers of delays to job progress/completion in order to have time to gamble,” one complaint said.

“This ad promotes a culture of ‘slacking off’ and runs the risk of costing businesses thousands of dollars in wasted wages.”

9. Sportsbet’s ‘manscaping’ ad, again

Number of complaints: 21

Decision: Also upheld.

See above, except this time the ad was on pay TV.

10. iSelect’s pinata ad, again

Number of complaints: 19

Decision: Also upheld.

Same deal, but on pay TV.

NOW READ: Meat and Livestock ad sparks complaints for “highly inappropriate” depiction of religious figures eating lamb


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