Complaints about adverts from non-commercial organisations up by more than quarter

The Advertising Standards Authority says the majority of the complaints in this bracket relate to charities

(Photograph: Jeshoots/Pexels)
(Photograph: Jeshoots/Pexels)

The number of complaints made against adverts published by non-commercial organisations rose by more than a quarter last year, latest figures show.

The annual report of the UK advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, the Advertising Standards Authority, published today, shows that the number of complaints lodged about ads for non-commercial organisations was 4,545 in 2021, up from 3,587 in the previous year.

The ASA said that although the bracket includes political adverts such as government campaigns and spots for pressure groups and other political parties, the majority of the complaints in this category related to campaigns by charities.

“The complaints tend to be about ads being too over-emotive or disturbing (eg animal or children’s charities), or often general complaints about too many of them being scheduled on daytime channels, targeting the vulnerable and asking people who can’t readily afford it to donate money,” an ASA spokesperson said.

Non-commercial organisations was the third most complained-about sector in terms of the number of individual complaints, rising above health and beauty, which was in second place last year.

The retail sector attracted the most complaints in 2021 with almost 9,700, which was almost twice as many as in the previous year. Leisure was in second place with 6,749 complaints.

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