The Australian Standards Bureau (ASB) has released a list of the most complained-about ads of 2016.
The most complained about ad, criticised for discriminating against vegans, received more than 700 complaints.
In total, the ASB received more than 5,000 complaints about ads in 2016, over a third of which were for advertisements in the below ranking. (We usually publish the ASB’s top 10 most complained-about ads, but three of the top 10 reference the same ad but for different mediums — TV, internet, and social — so there are eight ads in total, not 10).
Check out the eight most offensive ads from Australia in 2016.
8. A window display of a poster advertisement for lingerie brand Honey Birdette May -- 59 complaints. Complainants said the ad was only appropriate for a sex or adult shop and the ASB upheld the complaints.
7. Medibank Health Insurance -- 66 complaints. This ad featured many different types of families in different settings, including homosexual couples and a mother breast feeding. Viewers complained about the ad showing homosexual couples kissing and that it depicted breastfeeding. The ASB dismissed the complaints.
6. 'The Conjuring 2,' Roadshow Films -- 82 complaints. Viewers complained the graphic horror content was too extreme for children and generally distressing for adults too. The board upheld the complaints.
5. Ultra Tune -- 113 complaints. Complaints focused on how the ad portrays women as stupid drivers who need to be rescued by men. They were all dismissed.
4. Ultra Tune -- 208 complaints. Viewers complained that the women -- who remained sat in a car that was careering toward train tracks, instead of immediately escaping it -- were portrayed as stupid and this made light of a serious situation. Another complaint argued the ad suggested the women were only 'good for one thing.' The board upheld the complaints on the grounds that the ad discriminated or vilified gender.
3. BCF -- 248 complaints. Complaints related to the ad's play on words -- 'Boating, camping, fishing is BCFing fun' -- and that it was broadcast at a time when children are viewing and were likely to repeat the jingle. BCF responded that the lyrics 'BCFing Fun' directly translate to 'Boating, Camping, Fishing fun' and the ASB dismissed the complaints.
2. Ultra Tune -- 418 complaints. Viewers complained this ad, which featured women in skin tight outfits dancing with the tagline 'we're into rubber,' had pornographic overtones and degraded women. The ASB dismissed the complaints on the basis that the women's breasts were not the focus of the ad.
1. Meat & Livestock Australia -- 747 complaints. People complained this ad discriminated against and vilified vegans as it showed one vegan left behind during a recovery mission to rescue expat Australians from various countries so that they can come home and eat lamb on Australia day. The complaints were dismissed.
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