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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 02:27 GMT 03:27 UK
Ad complaints hit record number
Gay Police Association advertisement
A Gay Police Association ad prompted 553 complaints
A record number of advertisements prompted complaints last year, an industry watchdog has revealed.

The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints about over 12,800 ads, its annual report showed. Almost 2,500 were then changed or withdrawn.

The biggest rise was in online ads, for which the ASA wants tighter rules.

A Gay Police Association press ad - claiming a link between homophobic attacks and religious motivation - was the most complained about ad in 2006.

Appearing in the national press, it pictured a Bible and a pool of blood alongside the claim.

It prompted 553 complaints and the ASA concluded that it was offensive and misleading.

However, the most complained about ad in 2005 received more than three times as many objections. That one, for KFC, featured people in a call centre singing with their mouths full.

Internet call

Television messages attracted the most complaints in 2006, but the largest rise was for online ones, where complaints grew by a third.

ASA chairman Lord Borrie QC said the bounderies of regulation were "unclear" and consumers needed to have as much faith in online messages as in other media.

Another press advert, which depicted a plumber evading tax by hiding under the kitchen sink, was the second most complained about in 2006 with 271 objections.

Created for the HM Revenue and Customs, it offended many self-employed people, who said it made them look like tax evaders.

However, the ASA did not uphold the complaints, concluding that most people would not have drawn that unfair conclusion.

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