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BizReport : Advertising archives : April 30, 2008

ASA: Internet attracts most non-broadcast media complaints

Consumers are quick on the complaint button these days, with record numbers being recorded by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority.

by Helen Leggatt

Internet advertising attracted the most complaints out of all non-broadcast media that the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority reported on in their annual report. Even when broadcast media, including television, is added to the mix, Internet advertising still comes second.

Internet ads attracted almost 3,000 complaints in 2007, although 2,144 were website complaints and, as such, were outside of the ASA’s remit.

The type of complaint generated by Internet ads most often concerned pricing, availability and charges. Television, on the other hand, generated almost 10,000 complaints, mostly relating to violence, sexual discrimination and race issues.

The most complained about ad shown in the U.K. last year was the Department of Health’s anti-smoking “Hooked” campaign which was deemed unnecessarily violent and too scary for children.

Complaints about environmental claims more than doubled year on year, with complaints concerning 410 ads, compared to just 83 ads in 2006. Greenwashing has become a cause for concern and consumers are becoming more watchful for false claims or P.R. stunts.

Tags: consumer complaints, greenwashing

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