The 10 most offensive ads of 2015

When it comes to advertisements, language, discrimination and sex, are among the most complained about issues.

The Advertising Standards Bureau has released a list of the top 10 most-complained-about ads so far in 2015.

Complaints have regarded everything from adultery and swearing, to man-on-man kissing and a woman licking chip flavoring off a man’s lips.

Between January and June, the Bureau has received over 2700 complaints. Here is a list of the ads viewers found the most offensive.

1.Holden Colorado 7

Number of complaints: 161

This Holden TV ad features a young boy mimicking his father who is complaining about “bloody caravaners” while he is driving.

The most complained about ad featured a young boy mimicking his father and using the phrase "bloody caravaners".

Complainants were concerned about the child swearing, but the board found that the word “bloody” was a commonly accepted colloquial term, which wasn’t said aggressively. The board decided to dismiss the complaints.

2. Ashley Maddison - Avid Life

Number of complaints: 138

The second most complained about ad was for a dating site for married people, which featured men singing “I’m looking for someone other than my wife”.

The Board upheld complaints about this ad for being discriminatory towards wives.

3. Stan

Number of complaints: 66

Viewers were upset that the television ad for the streaming service got a bit cheeky with a double entendre.

In the ad, actress Rebel Wilson refers to her “big pussy” before the camera pans down to reveal a cat in her lap.

The ad’s director then proclaims that he can smell her “pussy” and that it smells good.

4. Fantastic Snacks Australia

Number of complaints: 63

The board dismissed complaints about this ad, which showed a wife licking chip flavouring off her husband’s lips.

5. Unilever Australia/Lynx

Number of complaints: 62

Some television viewers were disappointed that this television ad showed two men briefly kissing.

The board dismissed the complaint and noted that the kissing scene was “very brief” and that “the kiss is not lingering and is not particularly passionate”.

6. Bingle Insurance

Number of complaints: 41

Viewers complained about this ad for car insurance, after confusing the computer-generated chimpanzee in the ad for a real animal.

“I was so disgusted and felt sick after seeing this ad. A beautiful big ape was the star of the cruel ad,” said one complainant.

The board dismissed the complaints as the advertisement does not depict, encourage or condone cruelty to computer generated animals.

7. Poltergeist trailer

Number of complaints: 36

This creepy trailer from 20th Century Fox Film Distributors for horror film the Poltergeist freaked out a number of viewers.

While the ad was screened as early as 5.30pm the board dismissed the complaints as it found the ad did not breach standards.

8. The Body Shop

Members of the public were concerned by the graphic nature of this ad for hemp soap.
Members of the public were concerned by the graphic nature of this ad for hemp soap.

Number of complaints: 30

Members of the public were offended by the naked man depicted in this poster for The Body Shop, which appeared in public places such as shopping malls.

The board dismissed the complaints about the graphic ad, finding that the depiction of nakedness was not inappropriate in the context of advertising for a shower product.

9. Ashley Maddison — Avid Life

Number of complaints: 30

This was the opposite version of Number 2 in the list. This ad for the dating site for married people featured women singing about “looking for someone other than my man.”

While the board supported complaints about the other Ashley Maddison ad, it found the term “man” was too broad to be considered discriminatory against a certain group of people and dismissed the complaints.

10. Victorian Hearing

The board concluded that his ad vilified people with a hearing disability.
The board concluded that his ad vilified people with a hearing disability.

Number of complaints: 21

This outdoor advertisement promoting hearing aids for Victorian Hearing, featured a picture of a woman with prawn behind her ear with the tag line “hearing aids are ugly.”

The board recognised that the line was “offensive, discriminatory and distressing to people who have no choice but to use them”. It concluded that the ad vilified people with a hearing disability and consequently upheld the complaints.

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