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ASA Publishes List of Worst Ads of 2014

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has published a list of the worst ads in terms of player complaints during 2014, with the Paddy Power Oscar Pistorious campaign taking home the prize.

The most complained about ad was Paddy Power's Oscar Pistorious spot, where they took bets on the result of the Olympic runner's trial for murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The ad had a slogan "Money back if he walks", which was deemed offensive because Pistorious had both of his legs amputated when he was an infant. The ad actually generated 5,525 complaints: a new record.

The spot actually was banned by the ASA, which claimed it "brought advertising into disrepute".

Gambling firms weren't the only ones to face complaints, as Booking.com faced 1,768 complaints for using the word "bookin" as a substitute word for a swear word. The ASA ruled in favor of the travel company in that case.

The third place result went to The Sun newspaper, which faced 1,711 complaints for an ad that offered readers a chance to win dates with topless models. The ASA censured The Sun in that case, stating that the spot was “demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes”.

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