had the most complained about ads in 2016

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says the brand had three ads – which heavily featured twerking men – in the top 10 most complained about for 2016.


It would appear twerking builders aren’t a hit with all Brits, with dominating the ASA’s list of the ten most complained about ads in 2016.

With three ads in the top five – which racked up a combined total of 2,500 complaints – the financial brand’s ad featuring ‘Gary the Bodguard’ was deemed the most controversial with a whopping 1,063 complaints. The public primarily complained due to Gary’s “overtly sexual” dancing.

More than 70% of the complaints the ASA typically receives are due to a brand misleading the public. However, all of the complaints for this year’s top ten were on grounds of offence, with none of the ads going on to actually receive a ban from the advertising watchdog.

“The ads that attract the highest number of complaints are often not the ones that need banning.  Our action leads to thousands of ads being amended or withdrawn each year, mostly for being misleading, but there wasn’t one misleading ad in the top 10,” clarifies ASA’s chief executive Guy Parker.

Other ads include Maltesers showing a woman in a wheelchair discussing her new boyfriend; which generated complaints due to “being offensive to disabled people,” and a Gourmet Burger Kitchen OHH ad; which some interpreted as “offensive to vegetarians.” It perhaps isn’t a great surprise to see the controversial bookmakers Paddy Power take up two slots in the top 10, with it re-airing its controversial blind football ad from 2010 last year.

Parker adds: “Advertising that pushes the boundaries invariably lands better with some people than others.  But last year we thought the ads that attracted the largest number of complaints fell the right side of the line.”

Judge for yourself below…

1. Gary the Bodyguard. 1,063 complaints

2. Car insurance vs home insurance. 898 complaints.

3. Messy girl. 896 complaints.

4. Epic dance off. 530 complaints.

5. Paddy Power: Re-run of blind football. 450 complaints.

6. Smart Energy: Gaz & Leccy. 253 complaints.

7. Paddy Power: Scotland’s Euro 2017 anthem. 220 complaints.

8. Home Office: Disrespect NoBody. 216 complaints.

9. Gourmet Burger Kitchen: Resistance is futile. 195 complaints.


10. Malteasers: New boyfriend. 151 complaints.

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  • DARLENE ANNE lathall 22 Mar 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Why do we have to be subjected to adverts such as the fat woman on the supermarket .com it is bad enough that the uk is grossly overweight but I find it offensive that this is portrayed as normal

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