Significant seven: most complained about ads

Over the next few days, we are publishing highlights from this year’s Mumbrella Annual.

1 Rip & Roll, Queensland Association for Health Communities
The most complained about ad this year was a poster showing two men hugging, one of them holding a condom packet. The ad received 222 complaints, most of them made by the Australian Christian Lobby, Adshel copped flack – including a street protest outside its offices – for taking the ads down and was lambasted for being homophobic. Ad Standards dismissed the complaints.

Rip & Roll Advert

2 Energy Watch
Is it amazing that this ad ever made it out of a drunk creative’s dream let alone on to television. The ad was banned after receiving 75 complaints for depicting Indian people as shifty door knockers.

3 MyPeace
With 58 complaints, a billboard by Islamic group MyPeace that carried the words “Jesus – a prophet of Islam” was ranked third by the ASB. The complaints were dismissed, although some noted it was hard to see how an ad this provocative could be motivated by a desire for peace and understanding.

4. Essential Beauty Franchising
Using spoonerisms to dodge trouble, the TV ad featured Mary Huff, who had a ‘fairy horrest’ growing from her ‘nimpy skickers’ and sought the help of Essential Beauty to ‘fax her wanny’. And dodge it did, as ASB dismissed the 44 complaints.

5 General Pants
Clothing chain General Pants was found guilty, after 37 complaints, of running a billboard with an image of a female model wearing nothing but black tape over her nipples and a guy stooped behind her to unzip her jeans with the word ‘Sex!’ writ large in the background.






6. Supre
Supre’s TV ad for its jeggings, in which a suspiciously young girl frolics in her bedroom, at one point thrusting her rear at the viewer, were deemed not to objectify women. The 27 complaints were dismissed.

7 The Tool Shop
The Tool Shop was found guilty of objectifying women with a billboard of three female tradies pictured next to the line “Imagine all three at once? We can.” They’d all slap you in the face, Tool Shop.



  1. Jazza
    28 Dec 11
    1:55 pm

  2. What has the world come to when some of those in your face sexy ads get through, and complaints are dismissed?

    Rather, where to next?

    I don’t want to be along for the ride,as the world is wicked enough now,and I believe in a little decorum

  3. aa
    28 Dec 11
    8:44 pm

  4. Drove past the tool shop one every day, call me naive but It took me a while to ‘get’ this ads joke, I mean I understood the threesome bit but did it also imply the tool shop caters for mechanics, chippies and whatever the other one is? Im not sure,,, its just not clear enough.

    The one they replaced it with is really bland, plus it fails where I see many large outdoor ads fail, by having text so small you cant read it or in a font so abstract you cant make it out.

    Who made these toolshop ads? I hope it was an armature.

  5. Tex Lovera
    29 Dec 11
    2:50 am

  6. My condolences on living in a country that “regulates” advertising, particularly in such a capricious manner. Free speech a bit too much for you to handle? Sheesh…..

  7. AdGrunt
    4 Jan 12
    12:23 am

  8. But Tex, will no-one think of the children?

  9. Johann
    17 Jan 12
    11:49 pm

  10. Tex Lovera (above) can’t be serious. Handing free speech to TV advertisers is like giving Jack the Ripper a machnegun. They provide smiling strangers who lie and dodgy products that don’t work or have exaggerated benefits. .TV funeral plan adverts are repeated so often they amount to mind control experiments.

    I simply turn them all off with my remote!