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Australia Says This Ad Is More Offensive Than Cheating On Your Wife

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Australia Says This Ad Is More Offensive Than Cheating On Your Wife

For Australians, it's more offensive to say the word "bloody" than it is to suggest cheating on your wife.

In a list of TV advertisements deemed most offensive and insulting, a video involving a dad driving with his child tops the list. The dad says, "bloody caravaners," referring to the caravan they're driving, and one ahead of them on the road. The child repeats it after the father.

"Bloody" is a swear word in Australia and the United Kingdom, but it's more along the lines of a cleaner curse word. Even so, 161 Australians complained about this ad in 2015 — so much that it beat out (in terms of the number of complaints) an Ashley Madison ad that encouraged men to cheat on their wives. 

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In 2018, Sportsbet received over 4,000 complaints about their ad that showed a man "manscaping" his pubic hair. People were in such an uproar that the ad was taken down.

ISelect was the second highest ad in 2018 with 715 complaints.

The commercial was about a woman aggressively hitting a piñata in front of children. It was seen to be horrific and violent, and it should not have been in front of children.

The ad that came in third was the Ultra Tune commercial in 2018, with 134 complaints. This commercial featured Mike Tyson, and was sexually exploitive and suggestive. But the Ad Standards Industry Jury dismissed these claims.

The third highest complaint-grossing TV ad in 2015 was one for Stan (which seems to be the Comcast of Australia), where the always-hilarious Rebel Wilson said, "Can't I just say me and my big [another term for cat] love it?" as she strokes a beige cat on her lap.

The man interviewing her in the ad asked, "Is that your [another word for cat] I'm smelling?"

When Rebel said that it is, the man replied, "It's nice. A little piquant, but it's fragrant." This ad, with its more than suggestive word-choice, only got a mere 66 complaints in 2015.

The fifth most complained about ad in 2015 involved a Lynx ad that advised men to go out, live in the now, and "kiss the hottest girl... or the hottest boy." Looks like homophobia was still alive and well in Australia in 2015.

The eighth most complained about ad in 2015 was one for the Body Shop that featured a — gasp — scantily-clad male torso, because only women should be exploited for their bodies in advertising.

In tenth place in 2015, this ad actually makes sense as it shamed people who wear hearing aids for daring to wear something so ugly. Because of the backlash to this campaign, the company apologized for the advertisement.

Commercial advertisements can be insulting to people if they are not careful.

Every culture has its own list of things they find offensive. Americans would barely register if someone used the word "bloody," and they certainly wouldn't call to have commercials removed from the airways for using it.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in July 2015 and was updated with the latest information.

Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.