Offensive and harmful advertising: A content analysis of official complaints

Kristina Auxtova* (Lead Author), Mary Brennan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study presents an analysis of 9,055 complaints about offensive and harmful advertising, using archival data from the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The aim is to identify what advertising is actually complained about and contrast these findings with the field’s previous focus on potential offense. Due to its moral calculus, growing presence in the marketplace, and higher proportion of offense and harm-based complaints, the noncommercial sectors (not-for-profit, third, and public sectors) have been selected for study. Key findings are used to propose a new typology of offense elicitors and raise questions about the effectiveness of a self-regulatory system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • offensive advertising
  • harmful advertising
  • complaint behavior
  • advertising regulation


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