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    Ad Standards reports 35% surge in complaints, received ‘nearly 300’ in December

    There was a 35% increase year-on-year in Ad Standards complaints in 2023, according to the industry watchdog‘s latest Review of Operations.

    The community panel designated by the AANA to uphold the industry body‘s Code of Ethics and standards, and exercise regulatory decision-making, received 3,764 complaints last year, with “sexuality and nudity” the main the primary driver.

    Of the complaints, 42% were about sex, sexuality or nudity, 17% about violence, and 10% concerning health and safety.

    The number of complaints increased from what Ad Standards confirmed to Mediaweek on 12 December 2023 which, at the time, still represented a 25% jump on 2022.

    The final 10% surge was due to the near 300 complaints it received in December alone, a spokesperson said.

    “While a number of factors may have contributed to this, the top five most complained-about ads in 2023 drew over 800 complaints collectively, whereas the top five ads in 2022 received just 120 complaints in total,” Ad Standards’ executive director, Richard Bean, told Mediaweek.

    The overall most complained about ad remained the Perth billboard commissioned by adult entertainer WC savage (aka Savannah) promoting her OnlyFans page, including a QR code which directed to the page. The ad generated 360 complaints, which were subsequently dismissed by Ad Standards.

    Ad Standards reports 35% surge in complaints, received ‘nearly 300’ in December

    See also: Ad Standards reports 25% surge in complaints, points to “sexual imagery and violence”

    Following investigation, 81 of the ads flagged were found to be in breach of at least one advertising code. 31 were modified or removed after contact from the regulators, and eight resulted in requests for an independent review.

    Bean previously told Mediaweek the numbers saw the industry return to complaint volumes of previous years – Ad Standards received 4,500 complaints in 2021 and 3,500 in 2020.

    “Advertisers need to make sure their ads align with evolving community standards around the use of sexual imagery and violence, with these issues generating more than half of this year’s complaints,” he said.

    In the latest round of Ad Standards rulings, released last weak, pregnancy, gun violence against animated cockatoos, and yet more examples of the ‘girl math’ trend were all offending subjects.

    The offenders included Melbourne-based direct bank ME Bank, IVF and fertility service group City Fertility Centre, and building product and solutions provider, Metroll Darwin.

    See also: Pregnancy, cockatoo gun violence, more girl maths: Ad Standards May rulings

    The post Ad Standards reports 35% surge in complaints, received ‘nearly 300’ in December appeared first on Mediaweek.

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