Complaints about adverts from non-commercial organisations down by more than 40 per cent


The number of complaints made against adverts published by non-commercial organisations fell by more than 40 per cent last year, latest figures show.

The annual report from the Advertising Standards Authority, the UK advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, shows the number of complaints lodged about ads by non-commercial organisations was 2,654 in 2022, down from 4,545 in the previous year. This is a 42 per cent decrease.

The number of cases opened as a consequence of complaints was 996, down 19 per cent from 1,227 in 2021. 

An ASA spokesperson said most of the complaints in the non-commercial sector were related to emotive and/or graphic charity ads aired on daytime TV, but that the decrease in complaints was not indicative of a change in consumer attitudes toward charity ads.

“The complaint stats around the non-commercial sector can largely be explained by the decline in government Covid health warnings/advice ads in 2022,” the spokesperson said. 

“The government (which was the biggest ‘advertiser’ in the UK in both 2020 and 2021) dialled back on Covid ads early last year, so that likely explains the big drop.” 

Last year’s report showed the number of complaints made against adverts published by non-commercial organisations had risen by more than a quarter on the previous 12 months.

The latest report shows non-commercial organisations were the fifth most complained-about sector in terms of the number of individual complaints.

The leisure sector was the most complained-about, with 6,727 individual complaints, followed by health and beauty, retail and food and drink.

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