The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week celebrates its 50th birthday. To mark the occasion, it has released a list of the most complained about adverts in the last 50 years. It’s an interesting list, not least because it gives an insight into what most irks Middle England and prompts it – accompanied by much huffing and puffing – to pick up a pen or write an email to a body such as the ASA.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Not forgetting violence of course. These are the themes you would expect to send seismic rumblings under the feet of the nation, causing china to tinkle and audible gasps to be heard from church halls. So what was top of the list of most complained about adverts? Was it naked, vajazzled women watching men having sex whilst throwing cats into wheelie bins (the women not the men) all to advertise cat food? No. Think of something truly morally reprehensible. That’s right, it was the Kentucky Fried Chicken advert that DARED to show people … wait for it … singing with their mouths full.
You’ve fallen off your chair, right?
Yes, it really is a shocker. Stop the clocks, etc. According to those who complained (a record 1,671 people), the advert set a bad example to children. Hell’s bells! I can think of plenty of properly bad examples that no one gets their knickers in a twist about. Just put together a collage of celebrities’ and politicians’ photos, close your eyes and stick a pin in it. Bingo!
So this is where the nation’s moral compass settles. We’re happy to watch public humiliation on reality TV, people been pulled from car wrecks (real or and somewhere down the road from Holby City) and flipping Eastenders but not a bit of chewed up chicken in someone’s mouth.
The people who complained must be parents. (Scary how becoming a parent can suddenly make you conservative to boot). What does this say about their parenting? Well, that’s 1,671 people who should have sat down with their kids and explained that whilst the advert was very funny (they would obviously have to lie about their feelings here) it’s actually not very nice to talk with your mouthful. Basic Guide to Table Manners Talk done. Instead, I expect they taught their children that switching off the telly in a strop, thumping about angrily with steam billowing out of your ears as you compose your complaint against moral decay is a perfectly acceptable way to behave.