Bacon Erection! The Weirdest Ad Complaints Dismissed By The Advertising Standards Bureau

Bacon Erection! The Weirdest Ad Complaints Dismissed By The Advertising Standards Bureau

Sexualised portrayal of food, a monkey’s dangerous driving habits, an old couple’s shower activities; here are some of the strangest ad complaints received – and dismissed – by the Advertising Standards Bureau.


The complaint:

“Woman is heard saying ‘wow did you see the size of that cock?’. Totally inappropriate language and inference on prime time TV to advertise Laminex.”

The ASB ruling:

“The Board viewed the advertisement and noted the advertiser’s response that the line has been misheard and that the friend that is admiring her engagement ring says “wow, look at the size of that rock.

“The Board noted that the use of the comment by the woman is a clever and deliberate play on words as the men stand very close with peacock feathers splayed behind them.”

Pizza Hut

The complaint:

“Sexualized food, portrayed as erection of bacon resulting in pizza huts ‘love’ child. Illegitimate child. Ad is offensive and sickening. Please immediately ban ad.”

The ASB ruling:

“The Board noted that the overall theme of the advertisement is to highlight the product as the ‘lovechild’ of Pizza Hut and Four ‘N’ Twenty and considered that whilst there is some mild innuendo with regards to the language used and the visuals, this innuendo is relatively mild and unlikely to be understood by younger children.

“The Board considered that overall the advertisement does treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience.”

Bingle Insurance

The complaints:

“There is no evidence provided to show that the animals used for filming the ad were treated humanely.”

“The ad promotes unsafe driving behaviour (a chimpanzee driving a vehicle).”

The ASB ruling:

“The Board noted the advertiser’s response that the chimp is a computer generated image and considered that most members of the community would understand that a real chimp was not used in the advertisement.

“There is no suggestion that the (CGI) chimp is traumatised.”

Australian Super

The complaint:

“It is gross, no one wants to see people their parents or grandparents age ‘fooling around’ in a sexual way, regardless of it being about conserving finances and cutting back.”

The ASB ruling:

“The Board noted that the advertisement is intended to be a comical and light-hearted way to get information to the viewer about the topic of finance and superannuation. The Board noted that man pulls his wife into the shower in a playful way and she giggles as he tries to get her under the flowing water while she is dressed.

“The Board noted that the depiction of the couple in the shower is a playful one and does not have undertones of aggressive or unwelcome sexual conduct.”


The complaint:

“I think seeing a person with their head buried in sand gives a very bad/dangerous message to any child watching that this is an ok thing to do especially as an adult is seen doing it.”

The ASB ruling:

“The Board noted that whilst the advertisement has been rated ‘G’ by CAD the product itself and the overall tone of the advertisement are unlikely to be of appeal to children. The majority of the Board considered that in the unlikely event that a child tried to copy the man’s actions they would be unable to bury their head in a manner to cause harm”

ahm Health Insurance

The complaint:

“She takes his finger and places it on the computer. Surely this would constitute abuse, were the genders reversed.

“Why is one gender always treated negatively, abused and insulted, while the female is always treated positively, portrayed as sensible and intelligent?

“This anti-male sexism in ads is an absolute disgrace.”

The ASB ruling:

“The Board noted that the woman’s questioning of the man is not aggressive and considered that the scenario depicted is one which would be familiar to many couples.

“The Board noted that the woman does not touch the man she merely holds the tablet near his hand and asks him to touch it with his finger and considered that there is no depiction or suggestion of physical abuse in the advertisement.

“The Board noted the overall humorous tone of the advertisement and considered that the woman’s behaviour is not inappropriate and she does not treat the man in a manner which is discriminatory or vilifying.”


Please login with linkedin to comment

Newspaper of The Year Finalists

Latest News