The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) experienced a rise of 9% in complaints with the most commonly complained ad being one against L&P’s TV commercial featuring zombies.
The Authority’s annual report for 2019 shows 43% of complaints related to television, 14% to digital, and 14% against advertiser’s own websites.
Key issues were that an ad was misleading or lacked social responsibility.
The ad that sparked most anger among viewers among the New Zealand public was one against L&P, which shows two zombies exploring a post-apocalyptic cityscape. Complainants said the advertisement was in poor taste and harmful to the mental health of children and other vulnerable people.
The advertiser said it was a light-hearted and humorous parody of ‘zomedy’ movies. The ASA said while the advertisement may be distasteful to some, it was not offensive.
The next most commonly complained against ad was one by Hyundai NZ, showing an athlete on a treadmill breathing air coming directly out of the exhaust pipes of a NEXO. The complaint was upheld. That was followed by a National Party Facebook and Twitter ad that claimed “Rents up under Labour”. This complaint was not upheld.
The report shows that after a complaint was made, 151 ads were changed or removed.
“You should be able to trust the ads you see. If an ad is wrong, the ASA is here to help put it right,” says ASA Chair Heather Roy in her foreward to the report.