The Top Five Most Complained About Ads in Australia for 2022

Not all complaints about advertising are created equal.

The Top Five Most Complained About Ads in Australia for 2022

Not all complaints about advertising are created equal.

While a lot of people complain about advertising in general with mantra-like passion, not all complaints about ads are equal. Australia’s Ad Standards, which handles complaints about particular ads in Australia, has revealed the ads people complained about the most this year along with the top issues of community concern.

Not all of the most complained about ads were “upheld”, with four of the top five, including the top most complained about ad starring NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal being “dismissed.”

Shaq appears in the ad with Australian comedy duo the Inspired Unemployed “speaking in exaggerated accents and using Australian colloquialisms,” said Ad Standards.


 

“This particular ad elicited a strong response from some viewers who were concerned that it was offensive and insulting to Australians, particularly young men,” said Ad Standards Executive Director Richard Bean.

The only one on the list that was upheld was “Meet Bill Shock”, an ad featuring a man named “Bill Shock” whose mouth is wide-open throughout the ad. The “main concern” per Ad Standards was “discrimination or vilification” with the ad receiving 24 complaints.

“Ad Standards’ role is to give a voice to the community, and we take every complaint seriously. Any ad found in breach of the rules must be removed or modified,” said Bean. “One of the strengths of Australia’s advertising self-regulatory system is the high level of industry compliance, along with the independent adjudication of complaints by the Ad Standards Community Panel – everyday Australians who reflect the diversity of Australian society.”

Check out the annual ranking of most complained about ads this year compiled and summarized by Ad Standards.


 

Top 5 most complained-about ads in Australia for 2022

1. PointsBet – Free-to-air TV ad
This television ad features Shaquille O’Neal and the Inspired Unemployed speaking in exaggerated ‘Aussie’ accents.

  • Main concern: Discrimination or vilification
  • Number of complaints: 42
  • Outcome: Dismissed

2. Nimble Australia – Free-to-air TV ad
This television ad features a man named “Bill Shock” whose mouth is wide-open throughout the ad.

  • Main concern: Discrimination or vilification
  • Number of complaints: 24
  • Outcome: Upheld

3. Uber Eats – Free-to-air TV ad 
This television ad features Paris Hilton and the Irwin family. A scene suggests that a snake has eaten a chihuahua.

  • Main concern: Violence
  • Number of complaints: 23
  • Outcome: Dismissed

4. Gotham City House of Sin – Billboard ad 
This billboard ad for a brothel features a woman wearing black lingerie.

  • Main concern: Sex, sexuality, and nudity; exploitative or degrading sexual imagery
  • Number of complaints: 21
  • Outcome: Dismissed

5. Universal Pictures – Free-to-air TV ad
This television ad promoted the film ‘The Black Phone’.

  • Main concern: Violence
  • Number of complaints: 18
  • Outcome: Dismissed

“We’ve seen a high proportion of complaints this year about advertisers using sexual appeal or violence in their marketing campaigns which some members of the community have found offensive and unacceptable,” said Bean.

“We have also acted on a number of complaints that raised concerns about discrimination being depicted in advertising.”

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