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Internet ads twice as likely to be investigated by the ASA than TV campaigns

The number of digital ads investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this year has been double that of TV campaigns looked into by the watchdog.

Demonstrating the changing landscape of advertising regulation, the number of internet cases looked into stands at over double than those of the small screen.

New figures from the ASA and the Committee of Advertising Practice's (CAP) Annual Report have revealed the changing landscape of advertising regulation in the UK.

The research shows 8633 complaints about internet ads were looked into over the past 12 months, compared to just 3920 about TV, with digital banners from brands like Gucci (pictured) being slapped with a ban.

The mass-viewing nature of TV, however, did ensure that ads on the box clocked up the largest number of individual complaints from consumers at 11,611, the majority of which were not investigated.

The most-complained about sector was leisure, which comprises films, DVDs, computer games and gambling with 3932 complaints about 2530 cases. Just last month an ad from betting shop Boylesports was spiked for being likely to cause offence to Christians.

The financial sector, meanwhile, saw a 78 per cent rise in complaints, driven primarily by the ad featuring mascot ‘Dancing Dave’, which was the most complained about ad of 2015.

Campaigns like Protein World's infamous 'Beach Body Ready' ad saw an uptick in complaints of 153 per cent for public transport ads.

Overall, the number of consumer complaints about ads declined by 7.9 per cent to 29,554, meaning 2015 was a record year in terms of the number of ads that were changed or withdrawn as a result of the ASA’s regulation (4,584).

Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA said: "The ASA’s ambition is to make every UK ad a responsible ad and recent changes show how our regulation is becoming more proactive and having more impact. Alongside our important work resolving consumer complaints, we’ve taken proactive action in areas that make the biggest difference for the public. As well as the record number of ads changed or withdrawn, the volume of our compliance work has trebled to almost 5,500 cases.

“The figures we’ve published today also show how protecting consumers, particularly children, online continues to be an urgent priority.

“In 2016, we’ll be implementing changes to broadband pricing, as well as examining gender stereotyping in ads, and exploring ways to reduce children’s exposure to ads for age-restricted products in social media."

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