The most complained about ads of 2017

An advertisement featuring two models attempting to put out a car fire was the most-complained about ad in 2017, according to the industry watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Bureau has revealed which ads got Australians fired up up over the past 12 months, with sexuality, strong language and potential discrimination the key issues making us hot under the collar.

Overall the advertising watchdog received more than 6300 complaints this year, up from 5000 in 2016. Chief executive Fiona Jolly said the most complained-about ad, from Ultra Tune, showed Australians were sensitive to the use of "sexual appeal" on television.

"In this case the board dismissed the complaints, but it shows the continuing concern by the community about the depiction of women in advertising," she said.

"Advertisements with language that people would not like to hear their children repeating will [also] often receive large numbers of complaints - and even more so if the advertisement depicts a child using the bad language."

Here are six of the most complained about ads in 2017:

1. Ultra Tune Australia

The ad depicts two models attempting to put out a car fire. They get splattered with oil after the vehicle explodes.

People complaining about the ad claimed it was a "disgusting" portrayal of women and pandered to a sexual fantasy about "dumb, sexy women having a water fight".

However, the advertising watchdog ruled the ad wasn't demeaning or exploitative because the scene with the fire extinguisher was "fleeting" and the women were portrayed as mostly in control of the situation.

Total complaints: 359

2. Youfoodz

The ad featured a young boy impersonating Gordon Ramsay. The boy says he finds the meals "un-forkin-believable".

People wrote to the advertising watchdog to say the language was "totally inappropriate", while others believed he did actually say the word "f---ing". The ASB upheld the complaint on the grounds the actual word sounded too much like what it was mimicking.

Total complaints: 304

3. Youfoodz (modified)

A modified version of the ad was also slapped down by the advertising watchdog. The ASB said the bleeped-out version was also inappropriate for its time slot because "the inference to a strong swear word is [still] clear".

Total complaints: 232

4. Sportsbet

This ad featured former Olympian-turned-convicted drug cheat Ben Johnson spruiking a betting app. It included the line "puts the 'roid in Android".

People said it was not appropriate for a convicted drug cheat to be promoting sports betting. The advertising watchdog agreed, with a review upholding the original decision.

Total complaints: 202

5. Neds

The ad features a man escaping dinner with his in-laws by taking a telemarking call and pretending it is from work. He then uses a betting app on his phone in the next room.

The watchdog dismissed the complaint, though, because it found the TV ad didn't encourage "excessive" gambling.

Total complaints: 186

6. Meat & Livestock Australia

The sixth most-complained about ad in 2017 was arguably the one that generated the most headlines. The ad enraged the Hindu community because it featured the vegetarian god Ganesha eating meat (the Indian government even lodged an official diplomatic complaint).

Initially, the ASB dismissed the complaint. However, following a review, it backflipped on its decision to give the ad the green light. By that time, though, the ad had finished its TV run.

Total complaints: 144

This story The most complained about ads of 2017 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.