The most complained about ads for 2010

From the Advertising Standards Bureau

Sexuality and nudity, social values, discrimination and vilification, language and health and safety are issues which concerned the community in this year’s most complained about advertisements.
Advertising Standards Bureau Chief Executive Officer, Ms Fiona Jolly said billboard and television advertisements dominated this year’s ‘top 10’.

She said, of the 10, five ads were shown on television, four were billboards and the other was an internet advertisement.

“The Ad Standards Board found that three of the 10 most complained about ads breached the AANA Code of Ethics, and advertisers have now withdrawn those ads from use,” Ms Jolly said.

“Through its complaints, the community has again shown its concerns about sex, sexuality and nudity content of advertising.

“Seven of the ads in this year’s list relate to concerns about section 2.3 of the AANA Code of Ethics (sex, sexuality and nudity) and include the three ads which the Board determined breached the Code,” Ms Jolly said.

“The most complained about ad in 2010 was a day time television advertisement from Advanced Medical Institute which has been screened on high rotation during the M-rated noon to 3pmtime slot in talk shows and during midday movies, and has resulted in the ASB receiving about 220 complaints.

“The Board dismissed complaints about the ad due to the time of day and programming in which it is screened. This was also the determining factor in dismissing complaints about the second most complained about ad from Ashley Madison,” Ms Jolly said.

“This year, as in previous years, all advertisers have complied with Advertising Standards Board decisions. I applaud advertisers for consistent support of the system,” Ms Jolly said.

According to preliminary figures, in 2010 the ASB received complaints about more than 520 advertisements, of which the Board determined over 40 breached the AANA Code of Ethics or other initiatives and codes administered by the ASB.

Case reports about advertisements considered by the Advertising Standards Board during 2010 can be viewed on the ASB website www.adstandards.com.au.The list of the 10 most complained about advertisements follows.

Contact: Fiona Jolly, Chief Executive Officer, 02 6173 1500

Advertising Standards Bureau – Most complained about ads in 2010

1. Advanced Medical Institute (TV) - Case number: 0284/10 Cookie jar at top of cupboard – man offers wife an erect penis as a step.
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Dismissed
About 220 complaints

2. Ashley Madison - Avid Life (TV) - Case number 0257/10 - Life is short. Have an affair.
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics and Other – Social values
Board decision – Dismissed
About 115 complaints

3. VicRoads (Internet) - Case number 0148/10 – Viral clips aimed at influencing the behaviour of young Victorian drivers - 'Everytime you use your mobile phone in your car…’
Issue – Discrimination or vilification, Section 2.1 AANA Code of Ethics and Language, Section 2.5 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Dismissed
About 105 complaints

4. Sexpo Pty Ltd (Billboard) - Case number 60/10 – Featuring woman on knees and man on motorbike –ad for Brisbane Sexpo in March.
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Dismissed
About 75 complaints

5. Ashley Madison - Avid Life (Billboard) – Case number 0292/10– (TV) Life is short. Have an affair - Sydney.
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics and Other – Social values
Board decision - Upheld
About 60 complaints

6. Advanced Medical Institute (TV) – Case number 0315/10 – Running race with beds on the track.
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Upheld
About 50 complaints

7. Fernwood Fitness Centres Aust Pty Ltd (Billboard)– Case number 15/10 – "Join Now for Fox Sake”
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics and Language, Section 2.5 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Dismissed
About 50 complaints

8. AAMI (TV) – Case number 18/10 – Compilation of accidents and man singing “What about me”.
Issue – Health and Safety, Section 2.6 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Dismissed
About 50 complaints

9. SCA Hygiene Australasia (TV) – Case number 109/10– Libra pads made into Ninja armour by boyfriend.
Issue – Discrimination or vilification, Section 2.1 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision – Dismissed
About 45 complaints

10. Calvin Klein (Billboard)– Case number 0411/10 - Image of one woman and three men. Woman is lying on her back with her head resting on the thighs of one of the men and he is looking down at her. Another man is crouched over her.
Issue – Portrayal of sex, sexuality and nudity, Section 2.3 AANA Code of Ethics and Violence, Section 2.2 AANA Code of Ethics
Board decision - Upheld
About 45 complaints

For those who would like to see the Advertisements from the top ten, Mumbrella has published them here.

Collective Shout had campaigned against the Calvin Klein 'gang rape' billboards and the Ashley Maddison 'have an affair' billboards for advertising women for sex. Many supporters have complained about AMI's billboard advertisements featuring slogans such as 'want longer lasting sex' and more recently 'be a man and hold your load.' The Advertising Standards Bureau had previously dismissed complaints against 'want longer lasting sex' but later reviewed the decision and upheld the complaints citing increased community concerns about the sexualisation of children. The complaints against 'hold your load' have also been upheld.

Collective Shout plays an important role in encouraging the community to speak out against the sexualisation of children and the objectification of women. It is our experience that many people do not know who to complain to, what to say, or simply believe that their complaint will not be listened to. Collective Shout has encouraged people to speak out regardless of what the result might be. In our campaigns and articles we provide contact details for the Advertising Standards Bureau and contact details for companies that objectify women and sexualise children. Many have been encouraged to speak out knowing they have the support of a growing community who are concerned about these issues. This media statement from the Advertising Standards Bureau shows again the importance of demonstrating our intolerance of sexploitation. Sometimes we win. Other times we just need to keep up the collective shouting.

We have seen some encouraging results in 2010 with the Advertising Standards Bureau upholding some complaints. In other instances, direct complaints to companies resulted in them withdrawing advertising or products. Well done to all who have engaged on these issues in 2010, we look forward to working with you all in 2011.


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