The most shocking adverts ever?

Sex? Violence? Swearing? No, the most complained about advert of all time, the one that angered the British public and shocked them into overloading the Advertising Standards Authority with outrage, showed people singing with their mouths full of food.

Yep, it's poor table manners that gets up the nose of British. The KFC advert aired in 2005 and showed call centre workers singing through mouthfuls of food. Audiences were so disgusted that the advert triggered 1,671 complaints.

In second place was The Auction World television shopping channel advert. They clocked up 1,360 complaints in 2004 from viewers who objected to poor customer service, misleading guide prices and delivery delays.

Paddy Power's advert that showed a blind football team player volleying a cat instead of a ball attracted 1,316 angry complaints, putting it into third on the list.

Small businesses need to be careful when planning marketing campaigns, if people deem your idea to be of bad taste, it could damage your start-up and ruin your reputation forever.

On the other hand, if you do go for the shock factor, it could make lists like this one and be written and talked about for years to come.

In any case, if your marketing strategy really boosts your business remember your table manners when investors come knocking on your door.

The full list of adverts is below:

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken (2005) - 1,671 complaints
  • Auction World (2004) - 1,360
  • Paddy Power (2010) - 1,313
  • Christian party (2009) - 948
  • British Safety Council condom advert (1995) - 1,192
  • Marie Stopes International (2010) - 1,088
  • Volkswagen (2008) - 1,070
  • Yves St Laurent Beaute (2000) -
  • Department of Energy and Climate Change (2010) - 939
  • Barnardo's (2008) - 840
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