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Barnardo’s cockroach advert draws most complaints

Barnardo’s cockroach advert draws most complaints
Barnardo's cockroach advert

The newspaper advert which showed a cockroach crawling from the mouth of a baby has generated more complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority than any other campaign this year, according to

The advert was one in a series of shocking images that Barnardo’s has used to highlight the fact that babies that are born into poverty are more likely to grow up to be addicted to alcohol and drugs, become involved in crime, or to face homelessness. The Advertising Standards Authority has received 445 complaints about it so far.

The campaign has clearly had an impact. Barnardo’s has previously commented that, with a small budget, this was their aim. Indeed, the advert has already generated the fifth most complaints to the ASA to date.

Barnardo’s says that “The charity has not as yet been informed of the details of any complaints and so is unable to comment upon them.” However, it is satisfied with its success: while acknowledging that some members of the public would find the campaign shocking, “we have done more interviews on the issue in the last two days, since the launch of the campaign, than we have in the past two years.”


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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