A repeat offender has come in at the top of the list for the most complained about TV ads for 2020 so far, but a fast-food favourite isn’t far behind.
Automotive franchise Ultra Tune’s ad starring Baywatch beauty Pamela Anderson and former AFL player Warwick Capper disturbed 309 viewers enough that they submitted a formal complaint to the Australian Ad Standards body.
The board received 1747 complaints for the year to June 30, for 206 different ads.
Fourteen ads were either taken off the air, and their creators made to remove or modify the offending content before they were allowed to screen again.
KFC was the surprise inclusion in the list so far this year – the fried chicken purveyor got itself slots two, three and four, the first time it has racked up three complaints in the one list.
The complaints came from a slew of ads that began airing in summer, seemingly trying to capture the teenage boy consumer market.
At No.2 was an ad that features a young woman readjusting her, er, outfit in the reflection of a car window. The window rolls down to reveal two young boys with their eyeballs hanging out of their heads, and their disapproving mother.
In No.3, an ad depicts a boy and a girl laying in bed together. The boy tells her, ‘I love you’, to which she replies with ‘thanks’.
KFC rounded out its showing at four, with an ad showing a teen boy being distracted during an exam by his mates outside the classroom window chowing down on fried chicken. He slips out of his exam to join them.
The three fell under the slogan, ‘Did someone say bucket?’ – in reference to KFC’s famed bucket of fried chicken.
KFC was slammed for the series, namely the first ad.
It was ruled none of the ads breached advertising standards, but they have disappeared from the company’s YouTube channel and social media.
KFC did issue an apology for the ad, saying it did not intend to stereotype women and young boys.
Ultra Tune is no stranger to making the list – its ad featuring disgraced US actor Charlie Sheen was No.4 in the top 10 most complained about ads last year.
This year, it brought together Anderson and Capper to recreate the magic of Casey Jean Parker – Anderson’s character in Baywatch.
The ad features Capper driving along a beach in a buggy, with what we can assume to be his girlfriend. He spots Anderson, the shock of which forces him to crash.
He’s then swallowed by a giant wave, forcing Anderson and her band of helpers to jog (in slow motion) towards the surf to rescue him.
Safe on the sand, Capper thinks he’s about to get mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from Anderson – but an Ultra Tune worker arrives on the scene just in time to take over.
‘Avoid unexpected situations’ is the ad’s tagline.
Its most common complaints followed the themes of sexism, nudity and health and safety concerns.