Five adverts escape censure from ASA

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The five most complained about adverts of 2005, including a fast food commercial which has attracted more complaints than any other advert in history, have escaped censure by the advertising watchdog.

A television commercial for the KFC chain featuring call centre workers singing with their mouths full, which attracted a record 1,671 complaints, did not undermine good manners, according to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The ASA ruled in favour of the five adverts, it revealed in its annual report yesterday.

People complained the KFC ad encouraged bad manners in children. But the ASA rejected the complaints, saying the teaching of good manners was a continual process that would not be undermined by this advert.

KFC apologised for the advert, which it said was "meant to be funny", but did not withdraw it.

Christopher Graham, the ASA director general, said the watchdog did not make decisions based on the volume of complaints.

But the ASA did uphold 272 complaints against an ad for the fizzy drink Fanta Z, agreeing that it encouraged bad manners because it showed people spitting.

On a sexual theme, 620 people complained about a television ad for Pot Noodle snacks, showing a man with a brass horn in his trousers, but the ASA ruled it was suitable after 9pm.

The ASA rejected 425 complaints over a television ad for Mazda cars, featuring a female mannequin, which appeared to become aroused. People complained that the advert portrayed women as sex objects.

All of the other complaints in the top 10 were upheld.