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Two charities make top 10 most complained adverts

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​British Legion and Save the Children brought into spotlight over TV ads

Two charities featured in the top 10 most complained about adverts last year, according to statistics from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, which raised money for the Royal British Legion, was the fourth most complained about advert of 2014, while a Save the Children advert which featured a woman giving birth was fifth.

The Sainsbury’s advert received 823 complaints, most of which objected to the retail giant using the First World War to advertise, while Save the Children’s ad received 614 complaints.

ASA said the top three adverts on the list were the “most complained about ads in history”. A Paddy Power newspaper advert which offered betting odds on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial received 5,525 complaints.

A spokesperson for the regulator said that the ease with which viewers could lodge formal complaints on social media was the reason for the surge in numbers.

“2014 was the year social media came into its own in making it easier than ever to lodge complaints en masse,” said Guy Parker, chief executive of ASA.