The Most Complained About Adverts of 2017

Adverts can be tricky to get right. They have to memorable, attention catching and inoffensive at the

same time. This has gotten even more difficult over time as society has become more PC than ever,

as well as it being easier than ever to lodge complaints through platforms such as social media.

Social media has also meant that more companies try and push the boundaries of their

advertisements in order to become viral. For some this works, for some it backfires. Here are the

most complained about adverts of 2017 courtesy of the ASA:

1. The Most Complained About Adverts: KFC – 755 Complaints

The United Kingdom’s most complained about advert of 2017 was KFC’s dancing chicken advert. In

the advert, the chicken is depicted dancing to a rap soundtrack appearing to be ready for slaughter.

The complaints were made on the grounds that it was “disrespectful to chickens” as well as being

potentially upsetting for vegetarians, vegans and children. The complaint was not upheld.


2. – 455 Complaints

In second place is money advice service Money Supermarket’s advert. The advert features strutters

and builders dancing in the street. Complaints were made on the grounds that the advertisement

was overly sexual and could have possible homosexual tones. The ASA viewed the advert as

acceptable and it continued airing.

3. Unilever (Dove) – 391 Complaints

The first of the adverts on the list that were pulled from the public. Dove’s adverts were originally on

social media, magazines and their website. They featured the opinions that people had of breastfeeding

in public. Some of the language used in the adverts meant that people thought that it

encouraged criticism of breastfeeding. Dove pulled the adverts on their own accord.

4. – 293 Complaints

The matchmaking services advert depicts a lesbian couple kissing in a passionate way. Viewers who

complained said that the advert was too sexual for television – especially for any children that were

watching. The complaints were never upheld as it was ruled acceptable for the public.


5. McDonald’s – 256 Complaints

The fast-food chain’s advert shows a boy and his mother talking about his dead father. As she

describes the similarities between them he starts to get more upset – until she says that they both

loved the filet-o- fish product. Complainers said that the advert “trivialised grief” and would be

uncomfortable to view for viewers who had lost a loved one. McDonald’s pulled the advert on their

own accord.