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NZ's most complained about ads in 2018

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:06p.m.
Anti-vaccination group Waves NZ's billboard received 146 complaints. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Anti-vaccination group Waves NZ's billboard received 146 complaints. (Photo / NZ Herald)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has released the ads Kiwis' most complained about in 2018.

Last year the authority received 1338 complaints about advertisements – an increased on the 1168 complaints they received in 2017.

The main complaint, which accounted for 48 per cent of the issues, was that advertisements were misleading.

Television ads were the most complained about (42%), followed by advertiser websites (17%).

Advertisements depicting therapeutics & health were the most complained about – making up 17 per cent of all complaints – followed by food and beverage (16%) and household goods (15%).

Of the 1338 complaints received, 425 were considered by the authority and 139 of them were either changed or removed.

Waves NZ

Billboard – 146 complaints – upheld, advertisement removed

The ad for anti-vaccination group Waves NZ was erected above Auckland's Southern Motorway and depicted a man holding a baby with the words: "If you knew the ingredients in a vaccine, would you RISK it?"

The ad received 146 complaints, with most complainants concerned that the advertisement implied vaccines are not safe.

The advertiser said the advertisement promoted informed consent and encouraged research of vaccine ingredients.

After the ASA upheld the complaints, the advertiser appealed the decision which was dismissed.

An Appeal Board said the message received by the consumer was limited and therefore misleading.

While the Appeal Board agreed consumers have a right to be informed, the advertisement engendered fear through text and imagery to and unlimited audience.

The ad was removed.

Breast Cancer Foundation

TV ad – 13 complaints – settled, advertisement changed

The television ad for the Breast Cancer Foundation showed a mother and daughter talking about breast cancer.

The ad said: "Breast cancer is contagious. It touches the whole family…"

The Breast Cancer Foundation removed the word "contagious" from its television advertisement. Photo / Screenshot

The ASA received 13 complaints, with those concerned the word "contagious" was misleading and played on fear.

In response, the advertiser said the advertisement was to encourage women to have free mammograms and talking about the wider effects of cancer.

The complaints were settled and the advertiser amended the advertisement, removing the word "contagious".

Hanes Australia

TV ad – 8 complaints – not upheld

Hanes Australia's television advertisement for Berlei Bras showed the impact of uncomfortable bras. The ad ends with women enjoying wearing the Berlei Bra.

There were 8 complaints over the advertisement.

Complainants said the advertisement was offensive, sexually suggestive and played at a time that was inappropriate.

The advertiser said the advertisement depicted breasts in an unglamorous and truthful way to highlight the discomfort of ill-fitting bras.

The Appeal Board sided with advertiser, saying the advertisement was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most people.

It went on to say there was nothing in the advertisement which degraded or exploited women or objectified women in the context of the advertisement.

The complaints were not upheld.

Antares

TV ad – 8 complaints – settled, advertisement changed

The television ad for Burger King showed a group of people barbequing inside their van. The disclaimer says "Never BBQ in a vehicle, it is stupid and impairs your ability to be alive".

Among the 8 complainants' were concerns the advertisement depicted unsafe behaviour.

The Chair acknowledged the advertiser made changes to the television advertisement and added a clearer safety message.

The complaints were settled.

Fluoride Free New Zealand

Print ad – 6 complaints – not upheld

The newspaper advertisement for Fluoride Free New Zealand showed a photo of a child drinking a glass of water with the heading "Fluoride is a Neurotoxin that Reduces Children's IQ". Below this photo was the heading "International Experts share latest research linking fluoride to neurological damage and other harms." Details about three speakers and the venue for the talk were included.

The ad received 6 complaints.

Complainants said the advertisement was misleading and played on fear.

The complaints were upheld, in part, a decision which the advertiser appealed.

The Appeal Board said the advertisement was not misleading because of the context, an invitation to a public lecture explaining recent research on the risks of fluoride.

The Appeal Board said the advertisement did not reach the threshold to unjustifiably play on fear and therefore was not socially irresponsible.

The complaints were not upheld.

 

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