Time to cover up? The top 10 complained about ads in New Zealand

11:41 AM, 14 June 2016
Should sex sell?

The most complained about advertising in 2015 was the I Love Ugly campaign for its range of men's jewellery. The campaign drew 26 complaints from individuals who criticised the imagery of a man wearing I Love Ugly rings with his hands on different parts of a woman's naked torso. This series of ads were labelled sexually exploitative and degrading to women. In this case the advertiser apologised and withdrew the advertising, and the complaints were settled.

Sexualisation was also the concern of the second-most complained about advertising - Access Solutions scaffolding hire. The Access Solutions billboard displayed a male worker in a scissor lift pasting up an image of a topless woman. In a majority decision, the Complaints Board said the ad was exploitative and likely to cause serious or widespread offence in an outdoor environment.

Over the edge? Where does "raunchy"place in the report?

So was offensiveness a major problem in advertising in 2015? Despite the concerns regarding taste and decency in the two most frequently complained about advertisements, in terms of overall complaints - misleading claims continue to be the predominant reason for complaints. So it appears advertisers rarely overstep the market with regard to offensiveness.

Here's the breakdown of the 2015 key issues:

  • Misleading claims - 299
  • Social responsibility - 172
  • Taste and decency - 58

Click here to review the rest of the top 10 complained about ads and the complete ASA report

What are your thoughts on the complaints in this year's ASA report? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to lindsay@anza.co.nz

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