MyPlates ‘upset’ after ad watchdog receives more than 350 complaints against latest campaign

The volume and ferocity of complaints made against TV adverts for personalised number plate firm MyPlates “rocked our socks off”, its chief executive has said, as he admitted he will think twice over the content of future campaigns.

Daryl Head said he was “upset” that the commercials sparked such controversy, with the Australian Standards Bureau receiving more than 350 complaints for the three executions, although some are likely to be duplicates.

Head revealed he has already been informed by the ASB that the complaints have been dismissed, adding: “We haven’t done anything wrong or breached any code of conduct.”

The ads which generated complaints in the firm’s “man proof your car” campaign showed one man breaking wind and another picking his nose. Three new ads, again the work of Custom Creative, will begin this weekend.

Head insisted he did not set out to offend and claimed some of those lodging complaints have been abusive.

“The ferocity of the complaints has been quite upsetting. They are abusive, and the young ladies handling the complaints for me have been offended. That has rocked our socks off,” he said.

“I don’t intend to offend and the ads are not designed to get complaints and get people upset.  They are designed to be funny.”

Head acknowledged that while it will make him re-evaluate future material, people who do complain must realise they cannot simply demand something that they find offensive be removed.

“It has to make you stop and think. Any company that gets feedback and arrogantly ignores it is in trouble, so we are are not going to do that and dismiss the complaints,” he said

“Complain by all means because it does have an impact and it has impacted my thinking about how we move forward. But complainants need to be aware that their opinion is not a greater opinion than another person who might find the ads amusing.

“I don’t think people are too sensitive, that’s not for me to judge, but it is incredibly difficult to do anything in society in a public forum that does not get a complaint. That is something we have to understand as marketers and work out a way of dealing with that. If everything was taken off air that we got a complaint about then there would be a lot of white noise out there.”

He added that as MyPlates is dealing with a government product, the public expect a higher moral standard. “We seem to trip people up easier,” he said.

Head rejected suggestions the MyPlates brand would be damaged, arguing that those who are offended by the ads are not its target audience.

“The people who are complaining from a personality perspective don’t buy our plates. Our audience is humorous, out there, extroverted and brave and these people are not in that personality group,” he said.

It is not the first time Head has courted controversy, with MyPlates ads last year which showed a man in his back yard “showing a bit of bum crack” receiving complaints.

“It seems that everything I do people complain,” he said. “We have three new ads starting at the weekend and it will be interesting to see what happens.”

The ASB declined to confirm the ads have been cleared when approached for comment by Mumbrella.

Steve Jones


  1. Tony
    25 Jul 14
    2:17 pm

  2. Perhaps MyPlates could produce a series of ads for men to woman-proof their cars. But hang on…we can’t do that because that would be seen as incredibly sexist.

    Why is it OK to man-slam in so many ads for products for woman which portray guys as gross, ugly, dumb and stupid. Apparently that’s just funny and perfectly acceptable.

    Every time there is even a suggestion of the same or blatant sexism there is the cry of oppressed women. Double standards still reign supreme.

  3. Mike
    25 Jul 14
    2:21 pm

  4. Only thing I would be complaining about is that stiletto number plate design.

  5. AdGrunt
    25 Jul 14
    2:23 pm

  6. They’re pretty funny and made me visit the site.

    Wowsers abound and their ferocity underlined their lunacy.

  7. Lee
    25 Jul 14
    2:24 pm

  8. I’d never by the plates but I think the adds were amusing. Knowing my male family and friends, the adds are so true! People need to get over it.

  9. Leah Gibbs
    25 Jul 14
    2:29 pm

  10. Really!!
    Some people should get a life and stop complaining.
    I seen the fart one on Sunday night and could not stop laughing, because this is exactly what my husband would do.
    Great marketing :)

  11. John G
    25 Jul 14
    2:29 pm

  12. do they genuinely think there’s a personality type who finds close up snot footage humorous or brave? the execution was offensive not so much the concept in my view.

    I’d be surprised if any of the complaints were about the second ad. maybe a few from hyper-sensitive freaks.

  13. Mushrooms
    25 Jul 14
    2:29 pm

  14. Goes to show too many people with too much time on their hands sending whinge letters over nothing. These ads were brilliant and clever i thought.

  15. Annabelle Drumm
    25 Jul 14
    2:33 pm

  16. I have to ask who is the audience for this ad, then? Toilet humour generally appeals to males and yet the ad seems to be aimed at females.

  17. Joey
    25 Jul 14
    2:47 pm

  18. And their problem is??????

    I guess I’m a bloke but I find them great. But I’d never wipe my boogie on the door panel. Usually on the carpet!!

  19. Rebecca
    25 Jul 14
    2:51 pm

  20. Gendered comedy is hard to do well and should be avoided unless it’s done well.

    Equally, isn’t “DOOFY DAD” a little old fashioned?

  21. Lauren
    25 Jul 14
    4:21 pm

  22. I’m not really a fan of the ads. My husband would never do that and plus I’m sure women do it too. I would not get a personalized number plate based on that ad. I think it needs to be a bit more subtle and sophisticated.

  23. Mat Rawnsley
    25 Jul 14
    4:35 pm

  24. Humanity.

  25. Mark B
    25 Jul 14
    8:05 pm

  26. The ad where the man picks his nose is bad taste in the extreme. Thank God it’s now been pixelated, but even the new version still turns my stomach.
    Yuck. Get it off now.

  27. Peter Campbell
    25 Jul 14
    8:21 pm

  28. Tell you what. Redo these ads with women the subject instead of men and title it ‘Man-proof’ your car, and see how many women’s groups complain of you being sexist!

  29. David
    25 Jul 14
    8:36 pm

  30. Haters will hate.

    Send all the complainants a mirror, because they need to take a good, long, hard look at themselves.

  31. Chris Ure
    25 Jul 14
    8:54 pm

  32. From the first time I saw your rather stupid adds, I deemed them to be, insulting,
    demeaning to men, disgusting, inappropriate, stupid in the extreme, designed by some cretin with absolutely no advertising acumen and if you had put women in a similar situation albeit reversed whoever the feral was who put this crap to television would have had his balls handed to him in a barrage of feminist hatred. Sack the feral who designed these adds. Also the Advertising council should re think their standards for advertising. Advertising has and will to a large extent turn most viewers away from free to air television. The abuse of advertising to gain the almighty Dollar is pushing more and more people towards the internet and the P.V.R’s. Thank common sense that people have complained about these adds.

  33. marg
    25 Jul 14
    8:58 pm

  34. I think the ad is quite repulsive. Can only describe it as “toilet humour” and do we really need to lower ourselves to that level. Please lets lift our game, if not for our own sake, then for the sake of our children. Found it hard to watch!

  35. Louise
    25 Jul 14
    9:10 pm

  36. I found the ads funny. I usually ignore ads on TV however these adds caught my attention.

  37. Chopper Reid
    25 Jul 14
    9:12 pm

  38. Anybody who complained about these is pathetic. Harden up

  39. Ann
    25 Jul 14
    9:20 pm

  40. Looks like they have want they wanted, heaps of free media

  41. John Harvey
    25 Jul 14
    9:36 pm

  42. I was having a snack when the advert came on of the man picking his nose and wiping it on the upholstery YUK!. I do not see any need for this advert. kids will think it OK to do it.

  43. Stuart
    25 Jul 14
    10:04 pm

  44. These are gross adds and the sooner they are pulled off the air the better.Do we always have to bring our selves below the line???

  45. Sandy
    25 Jul 14
    10:59 pm

  46. I hate the adds and don’t like the number plates either.. just sayin’

  47. Mark Horton
    25 Jul 14
    11:49 pm

  48. I just see this as an advert proving how the NSW Government and RMS are ripping off the dumbos who buy personalised plates. A personal plate ensures that your friends know where you are or up to. No privacy. Ha ha.

  49. Jason
    25 Jul 14
    11:59 pm

  50. So what is the problem?

  51. Jason
    26 Jul 14
    12:00 am

  52. I came in late on the subject

  53. Jason
    26 Jul 14
    12:17 am

  54. I have watched the ads and found nothing wrong. Rather funny (because its true).
    What the heck is going on with someone being who they are, i.e. Male????????
    Anyone got a problem with that?! Someone probably will.
    I have been at MANY an intersection as a professional driver and witnessed dozens upon dozens of women miss lights due to doing their hair/ makeup or on their phone, mainly on their phone. Ladies get the f off your phones. Yes, us truck drivers see you. Don’t think no-one notices… I do.
    The cops are even keener noticers.
    Get the f off your phones. You put me at risk and I have a very lovely loving family to consider and go home to.
    I don’t see mine often but when I do I would like to be in one piece.
    Thank you.
    Please observe the rules of the road…
    Yours Truly,
    An Observant Road User

  55. Dai Gratia
    26 Jul 14
    12:31 am

  56. “Not intended to be offensive: designed to be funny” huh? Pity you forgot the word discrimination in your considerations Mr. . . And the whole experience is all the more compouned by the fact that the content you are displaying so closely mirrors the reality of human behaviours – Which is NOT what decent people permit to enter their homes. The ad’s are both indecent and divisive – Get them off!

  57. Glenn Castle
    26 Jul 14
    5:30 am

  58. Why are blokes always fair game when it comes to taking the micky,I am sure there are a lot of women out there that I would not allow sit in my car,How about a woman proof number plate?Have we not heard of discrimination.

  59. Fred
    26 Jul 14
    7:49 am

  60. There’s 350 people out there that need to lighten up and get a sense of humour! Anyway, 350 out of the total number who would have viewed the add would be a small percentage. Perhaps the govt could fund free tissues for these sooky souls!

  61. John
    26 Jul 14
    10:23 am

  62. I am more offended by the the number of adds in the comments. Since when has ad had two d’s.

  63. Richard Moss
    26 Jul 14
    2:20 pm

  64. The ads may have been intended to be funny, but they contain scenes with men behaving in an offensive manner, this tends to marginalise the humour.

    Recorded music played via speakers in hotel lobbies etc, is nearly always banal and low key. This music is calculated to offend the least number of people, it is not designed to appeal to the majority. It does , of course, appeal to a minority.

    Perhaps there are now more men who are prepared to protest at the increasing trend towards labelling all, or even most men, as filthy undisciplined little boys.

    women fart, women pick their noses, it is just that we live in a society that prefers to pretend that they don’t.

  65. Patty
    26 Jul 14
    3:52 pm

  66. The first time I saw the “manproof” tvc I thought, wow there’s a whole load of complaints coming up…

  67. sandy
    26 Jul 14
    5:55 pm

  68. Who are these idiots complaining about a nose pick?
    Obviously they don’t live in the real world when they consider this to be one of the big problems in life

  69. Sue
    26 Jul 14
    6:17 pm

  70. I saw the ad with booger before it got pixelated and I gagged when the guy smeared it on the door. I was so relieved it got pixelated. What knuckle-head would think it’s funny to smear a booger on the door, most men would be smart enough to smear it under the seat or on the carpet, surely!!! The only funny thing about the ad was that it had to be pixelated because people complained and rightly so. I hope Daryl Head from MyPlates gets our (the taxpayers) money back from the advertising agency for these ads – I can’t believe he thought that the target audience – women – would find them funny. My 13 year old son thinks the ads are hilarious….

  71. Diane Higginbotham
    26 Jul 14
    10:59 pm

  72. What disgusting commercials.

  73. melanie king
    27 Jul 14
    9:38 am

  74. Just a bad, rude TVC. Not funny. Not inviting. Puerile. Smallminded. Why would anyone buy your product or service?

  75. Discrimination is discrimination
    27 Jul 14
    12:15 pm

  76. Next time, why don’t you get Jacquie Lambie to write the copy for you.

  77. Aussie_Austridge
    27 Jul 14
    1:53 pm

  78. I find these ads to be nothing more than gratuitous man bashing. Highly offensive and very sexist. I can’t for the life of me understand how the RMS – which has as its minister Duncan Gay, an old-style conservative National Party man – ever allowed these ads to go to air.

  79. Madam chair ska
    27 Jul 14
    3:21 pm

  80. Absolutely love these ads.
    Be grateful that they were not only noticed but well comprehended in an otherwise sea of average,advertising.

  81. AdGuy
    28 Jul 14
    8:06 am

  82. As others have said, it’s the cheap and crass execution more than the ideas themselves (which are pretty base to begin with) that are the issue here.

    Needing to show a close-up of snot on the end of a finger to get laughs really is evidence that you’re not doing it right.

    Apart from that, these are just another instalment in the ‘all men are idiots’ genre… of which there are many. Tiresome in the extreme. Although any woman likely to be attracted to these hideous plates would probably enjoy this particular brand of advertising.

    7/10 for strategy.
    4/10 for idea.
    1/10 for execution.

  83. DTM
    28 Jul 14
    8:32 am

  84. Looks like their after the “Bogan” demographic….

  85. Mvel
    28 Jul 14
    9:23 am

  86. I remember the second ad above caught my attention because I thought the product would be popular with ladies in their twenties, but was in some way was a little unfair to men. I don’t find anything wrong with the ads, only the first. That is beyond disgusting. I know in my family, we would purposely change the channel if we saw the ad. I think they could have gone about marketing the product a little better, but what the hey? If they’ve got free publicity, then kudos to them.

  87. NAB
    28 Jul 14
    2:15 pm

  88. ‘Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right’
    – Ricky Gervais

  89. Sam Foley
    28 Jul 14
    3:13 pm

  90. What ever happened to a joke these days.

    Lighten up people, its called humour.

  91. Tom Donald
    28 Jul 14
    3:33 pm

  92. Congratulations!
    Well done.
    There has clearly been a Hills District-driven campaign to complain.

  93. Don Laut
    29 Jul 14
    7:27 pm

  94. My wife and I find the adds in question, the one depicting snot , and the one with farting ,to be a very bad example for children, and to be rude ,even by our standards today ,also to be sexist.

  95. annette
    1 Aug 14
    12:25 pm

  96. Its not sexist ,its not funny , it just makes me feel sick

  97. Kel
    8 Aug 14
    2:09 pm

  98. Poor Annette, Id invest in a remote control if I were you.

  99. Mark
    15 Aug 14
    6:19 pm

  100. It’ll be a good way to identify stupid females with money to waste. If they think these hideous plates will stop their “bloke” using their car as a rental… WRONG. IF their guy is a massive sissy and has problems with the plates… all it takes is a screwdriver to remove the plates… or scratch them to the point of replacement. And since the ad is generalizing… it’s the men that will have the screwdriver. :)