Australia’s ad watchdog Ad Standards has released its annual Review Of Operations that provides an insight into advertising complaint statistics and key areas of work in 2021.
Some 4675 advertising complaints were lodged last year, 33 per cent more than in 2020. The Ad Standards Community Panel considered a total of 315 cases and upheld complaints about 85 individual ads.
The most complained about ad in 2021 was a Crazy Domains TV ad that featured a man urinating and received almost 300 complaints and was taken off the air.
The top issues of concern
The top issues of concern in 2021 were sex, sexuality and nudity followed by health and safety. It also received a much higher number of complaints compared to previous years raising concerns about distinguishable advertising. This follows the update to the Code of Ethics in 2021 in response to the growing influencer marketing industry in Australia.
While complaints about environmental claims were low, Ad Standards reported seeing an increase year-on-year as brands try to align their products and services to the environmentally friendly expectations of consumers.
As with past years, ads seen on free-to-air TV generated the greatest number of complaints, followed by social media. Ads seen on TV on-demand attracted more complaints than ever before with more Australians subscribing to on-demand services.
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