A poster featuring a cow and the strapline, ’When I’m a burger, I
want to be washed down with Irn-Bru’, was Britain’s most complained
about ad last year.
The Advertising Standards Authority received 589 complaints about the
ad. But although the ASA rejected them, it issued a warning to
advertisers this week to beware of the offence that can be caused in the
way animals are portrayed.
The UK’s second most controversial ad - for TCP throat lozenges - also
caused uproar among animal lovers by showing a tiger biting a man’s neck
and the caption: ’Numb the pain of a sore throat.’
Although the appearance of the TCP national press campaign accidentally
coincided with the mauling of a circus trainer by a tiger, the ASA
rejected the 171 complaints, claiming it would be seen as
The worst-offending ads are revealed in the ASA’s annual report which
shows a 14 per cent rise in complaints last year from 10,676 to 12,217.
At the same time, complaints about taste and decency rose by 58 per
However, AA executives say the picture is distorted by the high number
of complaints generated by a small number of ads - ten of which
accounted for 13 per cent of complaints made last year.
The annual report also renews its call for greater care to be taken
about the portrayal of women and religious imagery in ads.
The warning is prompted partly by the 142 complaints - the third highest
number - upheld against a Sunday Times ad promoting the work of the
photographer, Terry O’Neill, which showed the bikini-clad actress,
Raquel Welch, tied to a wooden cross.