I’ve written an ungodly amount of end-of-year wrap-up articles, I know, but this one is extremely necessary ‘cos it’s just too bloody wild. Ad Standards has unveiled the most complained about ads of 2020 and fuck me, it’s been a shitshow.
Mumbrella reports that the leading cause of complaints this year were issues involving sex, sexuality and gender stereotypes.
Throughout the course of the year, 3,400 complaints were lodged with Ad Standards about 369 advertisements. Of the 340 cases considered by the community panel, only 18% were upheld.
“Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced media consumption this year and we’re seeing a notable increase in complaints about ads on TV on-demand in particular – an uptick in a long-term trend. The majority of complaints are still about ads on free-to-air television,” said Richard Bean, Ad Standards’ executive director.
Let’s dive into the batshit ads now, shall we?
Auto company Ultra Tune copped the most complaints with a whopping 315 for their Baywatch-inspired ad starring Warwick Capper and Pamela Anderson. The complaints were to do with sexism, vilification, exploitation and dangerous behaviour.
Next up was a KFC ad that showed a young woman in a low-cut top checking herself out in a car window, which attracted 187 complaints for perpetuating inappropriate gender stereotypes.
“While the Ad Standards Community Panel dismissed the complaints in this case, the panel has upheld complaints about these issues in other cases this year,” Bean said.
“The community clearly remains concerned about the depiction of women in advertising and advertisers need to keep that in mind.”
KFC had two other entrants on the list, including one ad featuring a young man replying “thank you” to a young woman’s “I love you” and another ad with a bloke saying “bucket” and leaving an exam to hang with his mates.
The former copped 66 complaints for vilification and degradation of the young woman, while the latter earned 41 for coarse language (“bucket” is an allusion to “fuck it”).
Meanwhile two versions of Modibodi’s ‘The new way to period’ campaign made the top 10. The ad was banned from Facebook earlier this year due to its use of red to allude to menstrual blood, saying it has a “higher set of standards” for advertisements.
My boi Snoop Dogg also made the list for his Menulog ad as well as the lads of The Inspired Unemployed who appeared in the launch of Tradie’s body sprays.
Head here for more.