ASA fails to take any action against four most criticised ads

The four top-most complained about ads last year were all spared the wrath of the advertising regulator.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) Annual Report 2005, it received a record 26,236 complaints last year – a 16% rise on the 2004 figure.

KFC’s television ad featuring three women singing with their mouths full of Zinger Crunch salad, was the most complained about ad of last year.

It triggered a total of 1,671 complaints from parents concerned that it encouraged bad manners among children.

The report details the ASA’s first full year in charge of broadcast advertising and reviews its performance as it prepares for Ofcom’s review of the two-year probation period of the co-regulatory contract.

Last year’s second-most complained about ad was Living TV’s poster campaign for the “L Word”, an American lesbian TV drama. The campaign featured posters of three scantily clad women wearing knickers bearing the message “Hello Girls”. The campaign attracted 650 complaints.

Other unpopular ads include Pot Noodle’s horn campaign, which shows a man in a bar struggling to conceal a big brass horn in his trouser pocket. The “Have you got the Pot Noodle horn?” ad generated 620 complaints from consumers who saw the ad as tasteless and offensive.

A Mazda TV ad featuring lingerie-clad mannequins in a car, which received a raft of complaints on the basis of using blatant sexual references, was also cleared.

A total of 425 people complained about the ad, in which the mannequin’s nipples become erect as they are driven around in the car.

All the above complaints were not upheld by the ASA.

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