MEDICAL terminology, innuendo, bad spelling and blasphemy feature alongside the issues of discrimination and vilification of religion, lifestyle choices and age in the 10 most complained about advertisements of 2012.

The Advertising Standards Bureau has revealed the most complained about ad of the year was an offering from Carefree which used the word "vagina" - attracting 149 objections.

ASB CEO Fiona Jolly said the complaint was dismissed, as were all but three of the ads featured in the top 10.

"The Advertising Standards Board dismissed complaints about the ad as it was factual and treated the issues raised with sensitivity to the relevant audience," Ms Jolly said.

Of the three ads found to have breached the AANA Code of Ethics, one was on the grounds of discrimination and vilification of the elderly, one under the newly introduced objectification section of the code, and the other for health and safety reasons.

About 60 ads were found to breach the code - up slightly, but not significantly from the previous year.

Interestingly, Ms Jolly said preliminary figures showed about 50 of these ads received fewer than five complaints.

"This continues to highlight the importance of consumers making a complaint if they are offended or think an ad goes against community health and safety standards," she said.

Of the most complained about ads, eight were shown on television, the other two were seen on the internet and on social media.

Preliminary figures indicate the ASB received complaints about almost 500 advertisements.



Most Complained about ads in 2012


1 - Johnson & Johnson Pacific Pty Ltd (TV - complaint dismissed)

A younger woman aged in her mid-20s talks about how amazing our bodies are and about the body's way of keeping the vagina healthy and why Carefree has designed acti-fresh liners.

Number of complaints: 149

2 - Red Bull Aust Pty Ltd (TV - complain dismissed)

Three cartoon characters are fishing on a lake.

One of the characters, named Jesus, states he's bored and decides to leave the boat and appears to walk on water as he departs.

Number of complaints: 96

3 - Unilever Australasia (TV - complaint dismissed)

The advertisement depicts an infomercial style scenario with a presenter and guest appearance by Sophie Monk who is a tennis player.

She shows how the Lynx product can clean a variety of dirty balls.

Number of complaints: 92

4 - Pacific Magazines (TV - complaint dismissed)

As a cart and horse driven by an elderly Amish couple stops to pick up a mother and son, the boy notices a discarded magazine lying in the grass nearby.

In a series of vignettes the elder couple becomes increasingly concerned by changes occurring in their community and toss the magazine away.

Number of complaints: 85

5 - SCA Hygiene Australasia (Internet - complaint dismissed)

A drag queen and a woman in the bathroom of a nightclub or bar take part in a friendly duel which ends with the woman pulling out her Libra tampon and giving the drag queen a cheeky smile.

Number of complaints: 78

6 - Unilever Australasia (TV - complaint upheld)

Set in a TV studio with a mixed female and male audience and featuring a female presenter and another woman, "Amber Jones", introduced as former champion of a fictitious tennis tournament who talks about dirty sports balls and the difficulties of cleaning them properly.

Number of complaints: 58

7 - Pilot Pen Australia Pty Ltd (TV - complaint dismissed)

A man is following a hand written recipe for soup.

The word "leek" is misspelled "leak".

The man unzips his trousers and through sound effects we are led to understand that he is urinating in the soup.

Number of complaints: 54

8 - Kimberly-Clark Aust Pty Ltd (TV - complaint dismissed)

A labrador puppy sniffs his way through the day, approaching various people from behind, including the backside of a plumber with his head under the kitchen sink.

Number of complaints: 40

9 - Transport Accident Commission (TV - complaint dismissed)

The TVC shows in reverse the reconstructed actions of a motorbike crashing into a car.

Number of complaints: 19

10 - ACP Publishing Pty Ltd (Social media - complaint upheld)

People are invited to comment on images on the Facebook page.

Examples include a woman on the beach, separated into top and bottom halves and Facebook users were asked which half they would prefer.

Number of complaints: 19

11 - Energy Australia (TV - complaint upheld)

Features a man sitting inside a fridge.

Number of complaints: 19

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