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Wednesday, 31 March, 1999, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Poster ad complaints rise
Ads featuring animals and religion caused complaints in 1998
Complaints about press and poster advertising rose 14 per cent last year, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

But a small number of advertisements attracted a large number of complaints - revealed the watchdog which regulates all non-broadcast ads in the UK.

One particular poster advert featuring a cow dreaming of becoming a beefburger attracted 589 complaints - more than all the complaints for the entire top 10 complained-about ads in 1997.

Objectors said the advert for the fizzy drink Irn-Bru was offensive because it implied the cow was looking forward to becoming a burger.

But despite the large number complaints, the ASA said in its annual report it felt the majority of people would not be offended and did not penalise the advertiser.

Animals, women, sex and religion

In 623 other cases the watchdog ruled that the advertisements broke their codes of practice.

The ad which received the second highest number of complaints, 171, featured a man with a tiger curled around his body and biting his neck.

The poster campaign for TCP throat lozenges coincided with the mauling of a circus trainer by a tiger.

The ASA said the advertiser did everything possible to limit the appearance of the poster during coverage of the tiger attack and took no action against it.

As well as the problems caused by what some thought of as offensive portrayals of animals - the portrayal of sex, religion and women also caused concern.

The Times newspaper was responsible for the third most complained about advertisement which promoted a six-part photographic series featuring the work of Terry O'Neill.

The ad featured a leather bikini-clad woman tied to a wooden cross. Many of the 142 complaints it attracted said the image was blasphemous to Christians.

The watchdog said that despite the increase in complaints press and poster advertisers largely comply with industry codes. Each year there are 30 million press advertisements, 100,000 posters and more than a billion mailings.

See also:

07 Dec 98 | Entertainment
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Radio row over Hutchence posters
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