Moneysupermarket.com's 'epic strut' most-complained about ad in 2015

Moneysupermarket.com's "epic strut" campaign was the most-complained about last year, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad, selected as Campaign’s Campaign of the Year 2015, received 1,513 complaints, pushing it to first place on the ASA’s top ten list, published today.

The 60-second ad shows a businessman called Dave strutting outdoors in hot pants and heels to R&B anthem Don’t Cha by The Pussycat Dolls. Those who complained said the campaign, created by Mother, was overtly sexual. However, the ASA did not find it in breach of its code.

Last year's most-complained about ad, by Paddy Power, attracted a record 5,525 complaints after it offered punters money back if Oscar Pistorius "walks" following his murder trial in 2014.

Ads for Booking.com were the second, fourth and seventh most-complained about in 2015. The three "booking right" campaign ads for the online hotel site were created by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam.

The first ad, which received 683 complaints, shows holiday goers who celebrate pulling off their trip in slow motion. In a play on words, the voiceover substitutes the word ‘booking’ for ‘fucking’. It says: "It doesn’t get any booking better than this ... look at the booking view, this is exactly what you booking needed."

The second, "farewell", shows a family leaving their island holiday by boat. The father, who enjoyed his holiday so much he doesn’t want to leave, suddenly dives off the side and swims towards the hotel staff. The voiceover says: "You got it booking right." It received 407 complaints. 

The third, which received 201 complaints, follows a couple from their surprise meeting at a backpacker hostel through marriage and children at other hotels. The voiceover says: "Life can be like that when you get it booking right." 

The same campaign made second place on the ASA’s list for 2014. Over the course of its first run it received 2,345 complaints in total. Consistent with its previous ruling, the ASA said the play on words was light hearted and could not be mistaken for a swear word.

Third on the list was PayPal’s Christmas campaign, which attracted 464 complaints. The ad, created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, showed two children worrying about why their parents hadn’t been Christmas shopping. 

Viewers said the ad revealed the truth about the existence of Father Christmas to their own children, but the ASA did not uphold the complaints. 

Protein World came in fifth for its controversial "Beach Body Ready" campaign, which attracted widespread criticism on social media. It received 380 complaints.

The British Heart Foundation received 219 complaints for its ad, created by MullenLowe London, showing a boy in a classroom talking to his dead father. The ASA concluded that it was unlikely to cause widespread distress and had been scheduled away from childrens' programming.

The Department of Health's TV and outdoor ads, that showed a smoke rolling up a cigarette containing blood and flesh, was the  sixth most-complained about campaign. While graphic, the ASA said the ad contained an important message and should not be banned. It received 181 complaints and was created by Dare.

E-cigarette maker Nicocigs got 145 complaints for its ad for its Vivid brand, which viewers said appealed to children. The ASA said the company had not broken any rules. 

Omega Pharma received 136 complaints for its slimming aid ad for XLS-Medical which showed a woman feeling sad for not being as slim as her friend prior to their holiday together. The ASA banned the ad for its 'irresponsible approach' to body image.  

While 75 per cent of complaints the ASA receives are around misleading claims, all ten on its list were there for complaints around their ‘offensive’ nature.

Guy Parker, the chief executive of the ASA, said: "Advertisers must take care not to cause serious or widespread offence, but we don’t play a number’s game. And while matters of offence can grab the headlines, the bulk of our work is the less glamorous task of tackling misleading advertising."

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