Offensive adverts, coughing billboards and adverts on Snapchat

Laura Britten

Marketing Manager

This week in digital

Most complained about ads of 2016

This week, the Advertising Standards Authority released the UK’s top ten most complained about adverts of 2016. Interestingly, none of the adverts that caused the most offence over the year were upheld. is the most complained about company, having three adverts in the top ten, taking the first, second and fourth spots. The ad that was complained about the most over the course of the year was’s “Gary the Bodyguard”, which viewers found offensive due to his dance moves being overtly sexual and unsuitable for children to watch. Take a look and see if you agree…

Coughing billboard

A new interactive billboard from Swedish pharmacy chain, Apotek Hjartat, uses smoke sensors to cough at smokers as they pass by and then show them an advert for products to help them stop smoking. The campaign comes in the tricky mid-January time when a lot of people are questioning whether or not to continue with their new year’s resolutions. The campaign has received mixed responses as some as people have perceived it as shaming smokers. However, I think it’s a great example of combining new technology, digital and traditional outdoor advertising in one.

snapchat-logo-2d9c3e7ada-seeklogo-comSnapchat to advertise based on personal shopping habits

Snapchat is to offer more personalised advertising options to brands using offline sales, including purchases and reward schemes, to more accurately target potential customers. It is not a major surprise, as they need to keep up with advertisers’ demands and the competition from other platforms such as Facebook. However, Snapchat’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, did promise only two years ago to avoid tracking techniques, saying that “we really care about not being creepy”.

And finally…

Every year YouTube’s AdBlitz profile asks users to vote for their favourite Super Bowl ads. To celebrate ten years of the alliance, they have released the top twenty ads of the past ten years. Based on advert views in the January and February of the year it was released, it may not come as surprise that Budweiser’s 2014 offering “Puppy Love” was the most popular. The report also stated that the top twenty videos have resulted in “440M minutes of watch time — the estimated equivalent of watching the Big Game over 1.8M times”. Just in case you didn’t see it back then, or like me you just want an excuse to watch it again, here it is…