The ASA annual report is out

12:49 PM, 3 July 2017

Which were the most complained about ads?

Advertising can be polarising and even great creative ideas don't always win favourable public opinion. So it's always of interest to see which campaigns generated complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

According to the ASA's latest report, racist stereotypes, drug use, and dairy politics were the focus of the top three complained about television ads of 2016 by 2 Cheap Cars, NZTA, and Greenpeace.

Rounding out the top 10 most complained ads were:

  • You mean spy on my neighbours? By Parallel Importers.
  • He said, she said by Old Mout Cider.
  • Mummy, why do you only have photos of Danny on the wall? By Canon.
  • Did she just yell at me? By 2 Cheap Cars.
  • Two maps; two stories by NZ Palestine Human Rights Campaign.
  • Too sexy for my burger by Carl's Jr.
  • Are batteries included? By NZ Post.

Along with most complained about ads, the newly released ASA report also breaks down all the numbers of complaints and queries filled last year, including:

  • Total number of formal complaints made by consumers: 586.

  • There were 273 queries posed to the ASA from advertisers before ads were published, resulting in 17% fewer complaints than in 2015.

  • Of the ads complained about, 48% were seen on TV; 31% were digital; 8% were seen 'out of home'; 8% were print ads; 6% were heard on the radio.

  • Of these ads, 54% were said to be misleading; 25% were claimed to be socially irresponsible; 18% were allegedly in breach of taste and decency; and 2% concerned children's issues.

  • Of the total complained about ads, 22% were for household goods; 16.5% were for transport/vehicles; 16.5% were in support of advocacy efforts; and 15% were services based.

  • The most complained about adverts were for therapeutics -- the same trend held true for 2015.

For the full ASA Annual report here.

What are your thoughts on the 2016 report? What will you do differently this year to avoid complaints from consumers? We have a duty to engage consumers in a meaningful and responsible way. All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to lindsay@anza.co.nz

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