Offside Of Ofcom: The Most Complained About Adverts

Ed Angeli

TV adverts, the absolute bane of any television watching; the annoyance of a knock-off Pavarotti shouting ‘Go Compare’ in your face, or those irritating one-liners like ‘WeBuyAnyCar.Com’ somehow manage to get stuck in your head like an annoying bit of food lodged between your teeth.

There’s no shaking them; the fact most of us could finish a Homebase advert shows they’re doing their marketing right, as you say out loud in your inner head when the advert draws to a close: “Homebase, make a house a home”.

It’s effective, it puts companies names out there and it comes at a cost. To advertise your brand on ITV during the time of Good Morning Britain, it will cost you in the region between £3,000-4,000 for a 30-second slot.

However, despite companies paying extortionate fees to air their creativity, some of them overstep the mark; if it’s not an annoyance which infuriates viewers, it’s a level of controversy that doesn’t fit in with the usual PC brackets meaning Ofcom get to dish out their annual rights and wrongs on the telly.

Bravo to Money Supermarket and Paddy Power – you’ve kept Ofcom busy over the last 10 years…

Both Paddy Power and Money Supermarket managed to top the complaints list in Ofcom for five of the last 10 years.

Yet, despite such complaints, only the Paddy Power, Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial advert, was the one to be pulled off the air – no real surprise with captions such as “money back if he walks”, and generally trying to take advantage of a murder case. 

Money Supermarket also managed to top the charts this year, as the most complained about the advert, with 455 complaints coming their way for ‘Dance Off’ ad.

The Christian Party’s 2009 advert for ‘There definitely is a god’ received wide complaints of 1,204 messages to Ofcom, but it was not investigated so remained on the air. 

There have been some horror ads, and ones which step the mark of humour and sensitivity; but the general consensus is, people complain about ads because they’re incredibly annoying, and Money Supermarket certainly gets the top spot in that department.