The ads that made us angry in 2015

A much-hated I Love Ugly advert (I Love Ugly)
A much-hated I Love Ugly advert (I Love Ugly)

Kiwis complained about 514 different advertisements in 2015, the Advertising Standards Authority has revealed.

There were 707 individual formal complaints, mostly about misleading ads, social responsibility and taste and decency.

A series of ads for I Love Ugly's range of men's jewellery topped the list, with 26 complaints. The ASA took no action, however, after I Love Ugly apologised and withdrew the advertisements.

Twenty-two complaints about a billboard advertisement that "featured a man on a scissor lift pasting up the image of a topless woman" were upheld, with the ASA finding it exploitative and objectifying women.

A Toyota Hilux ad featuring animals killed by a hunter attracted 13 complaints after it screened immediately following a documentary about animal cruelty. The advertiser apologised and withdrew the ad.

Not every ad that made the top 10 was deemed unacceptable, though. A Schick ad featuring women trimming bushes with razors and scissors garnered eight complaints, but the ASA said there was nothing wrong with it because "bikini trimming was a personal choice and there was nothing in the advertisement that objectified the women".

The ads that made us angry in 2015

(Advertising Standards Authority)

Concerns about New Zealand Pork's 'Mum's Night Off' campaign were also brushed off, as were six complaints that a little girl in a Hyundai ad was being "disrespectful to adults".

Hell Pizza lived up to its reputation with two ads in the 10 most-unwanted. One featured a "very realistic" shot of a man's head exploding, which the ASA deemed "grotesque, violent and likely to cause serious offence". The other featured a lamb being eaten alive, which the ASA said was OK because of its "hyperbole and dark humour".

Similar complaints were lodged against an ad for Stihl chainsaws, in which a man decided to leave a lamb to die in a burning farmhouse. The ASA said it was "fantastical and humorous in nature and was therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most people".

Five people also complained about anti-speeding ads, saying they depicted bad drivers in a "negative light".

"As the definition of an advertisement continues to broaden and the platforms for advertising increase, we expect another challenging year ahead in 2016," says ASA chief executive Hilary Souter.