moneysupermarket
The most complained about advert of 2015 was one by MoneySuperMarket.com which featured Sharon Osbourne

The top 10 most complained about UK adverts of 2015 have been revealed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The year saw thousands moan to the watchdog that their television was being filled with offensive language, sexual innuendo and even scenes that suggested Father Christmas wasn't real.

The title for 2015's most complained about ad was awarded to Moneysupermarket.com, who received more than 1,500 complaints over its promo featuring Sharon Osbourne and a middle-aged man strutting down a street in hot pants. Other adverts to outrage viewers included ones that encouraged poor body image among women and graphic anti-smoking promotions.

Guy Parker, ASA chief executive, said: "Our top 10 for 2015 will no doubt get people talking about whether the ads are or aren't offensive, but there are important issues at stake here. Advertisers must take care not to cause serious or widespread offence, but we don't play a number's game.

"And while matters of offence can grab the headlines, the bulk of our work is the less glamorous task of tackling misleading advertising. That's why we're taking a more proactive approach to address the issues that affect consumers the most before complaints need to be made."

1. Moneysupermarket.com - 1,513 complaints

What the ASA said: "A TV and internet ad featured a man walking down a street and dancing while wearing denim shorts and high-heeled shoes. The ASA received complaints that the ad was offensive.

"Many complainants thought this was due to the man's clothing and dance moves and because they believed the content was overtly sexual. While acknowledging that some viewers might have found the ad distasteful, the ASA did not judge the ad to be offensive and in breach of the Code."

2. Booking.com - 683 complaints

What the ASA said: "This TV and cinema ad prompted complaints that the ad was offensive and encouraged bad language amongst children by using the word "booking" in place of a swear word. The ASA did not uphold the complaints, judging that it was a light-hearted play on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word. It also ruled that the ads were unlikely to encourage swearing among children; any children that did pick up on the joke were unlikely to have learned bad language through the ad itself."

3. Paypal (UK) - 464 complaints

What the ASA said: "Two children in Paypal's Christmas ad that appeared on TV and Video-on-Demand (VOD) were worried that their parents hadn't been shopping for Christmas Presents. Complaints expressed concern that the ad revealed the truth about Father Christmas. The ASA did not uphold the complaints. Independently, Paypal changed the scheduling of its commercial."

4. Booking.com - 407 complaints

What the ASA said: "Complainants found this TV ad featuring a man sitting on a boat before jumping off and swimming ashore offensive due to its use of the word "booking". Consistent with the previous ruling, the ASA judged that the content of the ad was a light hearted play on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word and that the ad did not break the advertising rules."

5. Protein World - 380 complaints

Are you beach body ready
'Are you beach body ready' advertising campaign was widely criticised in the UK for objectifying women.Protein World/Facebook

What the ASA said: "Before investigating complaints that a poster featuring a woman in a bikini was offensive, the ASA told Protein World that, due to its concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims, the ad could not appear again in its current form. The ASA concluded, however, that that ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."

6. British Heart Foundation - 219 complaints

What the ASA said: "The ASA received complaints about a British Heart Foundation TV, VOD and cinema ad which showed a boy sitting in a classroom talking to his dad who had died from a heart attack. Complainants considered the ad to be distressing for adults and children to see.

"The ASA noted that the ad had been scheduled to not appear around children's programming. It also recognised that some people might find the ad upsetting but judged it was unlikely to cause widespread distress."

7. Booking.com - 201 complaints

What the ASA said: "Booking.com's TV and VOD ad showed a story of a couple who met at a hotel. Complainants thought the word "booking" in the ad had been substituted in place of a swear word and thought it was offensive. Consistent with the previous ASA decisions, we judged that the content of the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."

8. Department of Health - 181 complaints

What the ASA said: "A TV and VOD ad, which was part of an anti-smoking campaign from Public Health England, showed a man rolling a cigarette, which had blood and flesh inside it. A poster ad also showed a cigarette which contained flesh.

"The ASA received complaints that the ads were graphic and gruesome and were therefore offensive and irresponsible. It acknowledged that some people might find the ads unsettling but noted that they also contained an important health message. It concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."

9. Nicocigs Ltd - 145 complaints

What the ASA said: "The ASA received complaints about a TV ad for an electronic cigarette. Many objected that the advertising of e-cigarettes was allowed and many thought the ad was appealing to children.

"Strict advertising rules for e-cigarettes were introduced in 2014 following a public consultation. The ASA also noted that the ad wasn't scheduled around programming that was likely to appeal to children and the ad's style was not appealing to them. On that basis it judged that the ad did not break the advertising rules."

10. Omega Pharma - 136 complaints

What the ASA said: "A TV, YouTube and VOD ad for XLS Medical, a slimming aid, featured two women exchanging text messages before heading on holiday. After seeing a photo of her friend who had lost weight, the other woman in the ad was unhappy about not being able to fit into her holiday wardrobe. The ASA banned the ad because it presented an irresponsible approach to body image and confidence."