Anti-abortion flyer, 2 climate-change billboards among 50 ads deemed unacceptable

TORONTO – Canada’s advertising watchdog says it upheld 242 complaints against 50 ads last year.

The biggest number of complaints, by far, was levelled at a political flyer by the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform that featured images of aborted fetuses and the slogan “No2Trudeau.”

There were 105 complaints against the flyer, and Advertising Standards Canada agreed it was excessively shocking and upsetting.

The ASC also received and upheld 96 complaints against two billboards in the Montreal area posted by Friends of Science Society.

One of the billboards said “The Sun is The Main Driver of Climate Change. Not You. Not CO2” and the other said “Global Warming Stopped Naturally 16-Plus Years Ago.” The ad council found they omitted relevant information.

The ads were among those cited in 1,774 complaints about 1,135 ads that the watchdog received in 2015. A majority of the complaints were about price claims and factual clarity or misrepresentation, which the standard body upheld regarding 43 ads.

One restaurant’s advertisement received 62 complaints. The slogan “How Do You Like Your Meat?” and images of a masked young woman wearing black lingerie in front of chefs was deemed to demean women and undermine human dignity.

A television ad for the travel search engine received 20 complaints, which were upheld, for displaying “obvious indifference” to attitudes or conduct that offends a significant segment of the population.

Complainants alleged that the ads showed disregard for an elderly person’s welfare, bordering on elder abuse, because it depicted a middle-aged man commandeering his mother’s in-home stair lift while using his laptop to make travel bookings — ignoring the woman as she struggled to climb the stairs beside him.