The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) is delighted to announce publication of its 2017 European Advertising Complaints, Copy Advice and Pre-clearance Report and 2017 Cross-Border Complaints Report.

Every year, EASA collects statistical data from its advertising self-regulatory organisation (SRO) members in Europe and beyond. The annual statistical reports contain analyses of complaints, copy advice requests and pre-clearance data. 

They are a useful and important instrument in determining and anticipating trends in complaints about ads as well as in identifying any problematic sectors or issues. EASA and its members use these findings to ensure more focused discussions with particular sectors.

As EASA coordinates cross-border complaints via EASA's Cross-Border Complaints (CBC) system, closed cross-border complaints are reported quarterly and annually in CBC reports and annual statistical overviews.

Key statistics from this year's reports are:

  • 56.863 complaints related to 32.992 advertisements were received by the European SROs in 2017;
  • The UK and Germany accounted for a total of 72% of all complaints received in Europe, while the most complained about advertisement originated in France;
  • Misleading advertising remained the most complained about issue (53% of complaints) but concerns over taste, offense and social decency remained high as well (38% of complaints);
  • On average, SROs resolved 89% of received complaints within two months;
  • Digital Marketing Communications became the overall most complained about medium (57% of complaints);
  • Advertisements for health and beauty products and services, leisure and financial services were the most complained about;
  • In 2017, EASA’s SRO network handled 135 cross-border complaints, 10% less than in 2016. In total 119 CBCs were resolved over the course of 2017.
  • Advertisements from the Netherlands and France generated the highest number of cross-border complaints (38% and 14% of all complaints respectively);
  • Most cross-border complaints were lodged by UK complainants (76% of all complaints);
  • 11% of cross-border complaints were upheld or partially upheld while 24% of complaints were rejected as the ads complained about were not found in breach of SR codes; additionally, 12% complaints were resolved informally to the satisfaction of complainants;
  • Misleading advertising was the main issue complained about for CBCs (82%);
  • Digital Marketing Communications was the most complained about medium for CBCs (81%) 
  • Leisure services (39%), clothing, footwear and accessories (10%) and health and beauty (9%) were the three most complained about industry sectors for CBCs;
  • The majority of cross-border complaints were resolved within three months (77%).