The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion, the organisation has collated the ten commercials which have attracted the most complaints during its existence.
In at number one is an advert from Kentucky Fried Chicken unleashed onto an unsuspecting public in 2005. If you were expecting sex, violence and class A drugs, think again. The commercial features call centre employees talking with their mouths full. Apparently this shocking behaviour was seen as an encouragement to bad manners in young children and the ASA received a record 1,671 complaints. None of which were upheld.
This is what all the fuss was about:
Four in the top ten related to abortion, birth control, gambling and religion as one would expect.
Only one of the four was banned and that was number five, the British Safety Council National Condom Week image of the Pope in a hard hat with the strapline “The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt always wear a condom”.
Poor old Barnardos came in for a drubbing with its hard-hitting commercial designed to raise awareness of domestic abuse. The complaints weren’t upheld allowing the charity to make sure that the issue was not swept under the carpet:
The atheists amongst us failed to get their complaints upheld in relation to a commercial which graced the side of buses in 2009:
But they did manage to get their own back:
Are there any other adverts out there flying under the radar? Get in touch and let me know if the ASA have missed anything ….
And here’s the full list:
1. KFC (2005): Call centre workers singing while eating 1,671 complaints
2. Auction World (2004): Shopping channel 1,360 complaints
3. Paddy Power (2010): Cat being kicked by blind football player 1,313 complaints
4. The Christian Party (2009): Poster saying ‘there definitely is a god’ 1,204 complaints
5. British Safety Council (1995): Condom advert featuring Pope 1,192 complaints
6. Marie Stopes International (2010): TV ad offering sexual and reproductive healthcare advice 1,088 complaints
7. Volkswagen (2008): Depicted an engineer fighting multiple versions of himself 1,070 complaints
8. Yves St Laurent Beaute (2000): Opium 948 complaints
9. Department of Energy and Climate Change (2010): Press and TV campaign about climate change 939 complaints
10. Barnardo’s (2008): TV campaign about domestic child abuse 840 complaints