Ultra Tune once again tops list of Australia’s most complained about ads in 2017

The Ads Standards Board has released its annual list of the 10 most complained about ads, following over 6,300 complains in 2017.

Franchise mechanic brand Ultra Tune once again topped the list, however fell short of its record number of complaints last year. 

The most complained about ad of 2017 was Ultra Tune’s fifth iteration of its ‘Unexpected situation’ campaign.

Prior to the ad’s release, the brand’s CEO Sean Buckley said people needed to learn to take the ads in the light-hearted manner in which they were intended.

“Do I expect it to get banned? No. I will take it all the way to the High Court if it does. I’ve spoken to my lawyers,” he told Mumbrella.

“Yes, it will attract complaints, but that’s not why I did it.”

The ad garnered 359 complaints, down from the 418 complaints generated by its January 2016 ‘We’re into rubber’ campaign. Last year, Ultra Tune’s Unexpected Situation #1 train ad also featured in the list, drawing 208 complaints, and its helicopter ad attracted 113.

Next year, convicted rapist Mike Tyson will front Ultra Tune’s advertising campaign.

The top 10 most complained about ads of 2017:

1. Ultra Tune Australia: 359 complaints

Two women are driving a car when the muffler falls off and starts a fire. They produce fire extinguishers and attempt to stop the fire, before leaping away as the car explodes. Despite numerous complaints and lengthy disagreements by the watchdog’s board members about its execution, the complaints were ultimately dismissed.

2. Youfoodz: 304 complaints

A young boy impersonating Gordon Ramsay promotes the Youfoodz range, saying the word ‘forkin’ twice in the advertisement. The complaints were upheld.

3. Youfoodz: 232 complaints

Youfoodz released a modified version of its advertisement where the ‘forkin’ has been beeped out. People complained, and the ad was banned yet again.

4. Sportsbet: 202 complaints

The advertisement featured Olympian and convicted drug cheat Ben Johnson talking about the “performance enhanced” app and included the line “puts the ‘roid’ in Android”. The complaints were upheld.

5. Neds: 186 complaints

A man receives a telemarketing call and tells his partner that it is the office and he needs to take the call. He then moves to another room and asks the telemarketer to repeat their pitch while he uses the Ned’s app on his phone to begin betting. The complaint was dismissed.

6. Meat & Livestock Australia: 144 complaints

Various religious/mythical leaders/Gods/characters seated around a table enjoy a meal together. The figures include Thor, Aphrodite, Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Ganesha. The complaint was originally dismissed, but the ASB eventually overturned its decision after an influx of opposition from religious leaders.

7. Neds: 139 complaints

A client follows up on the lack of progress of work on a house construction site with the site supervisor. The tradesmen on site comment that they are waiting for work to be finished on site by other tradesmen while using their phones to bet. The complaints were eventually upheld. 

8. Industry Super Fund: 126 complaints

A girl and her mother lock hens in a hen house before going in to their own home. We then see some foxes watching the hen house before a shadowy figure opens the door to let the foxes in. The complaints were dismissed.

9. AAMI: 96 complaints

A family who have broken down on a rural dirt road standing by their caravan with the father talking on their phone describing their location, noticing a sign which says ‘ship creek’. The complaints, which focussed on the bad language the ad is alluding to, were dismissed.

10. iSelect Pty Ltd: 72 complaints

A television advertisement which shows a couple in bed. The woman switches her light on and off, each time revealing a different partner. The complaints were dismissed.

2016’s most complained about ads

2015’s most complained about ads

2014’s most complained about ads

2013’s most complained about ads

2012’s most complained about ads

2011’s most complained about ads

2010’s most complained about ads

2009’s most complained about ads


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.