The number of complaints about adverts for alcohol in the UK fell by 16% last year, but three soft drinks firms featured in the ten most-complained-about campaigns.

In a joint annual report, published yesterday (29 May), the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said that complaints about alcohol ads totalled 378 in 2013, compared to 448 in the prior year. The number of cases investigated also fell, by 20% to 193.

However, complaints about food and soft drinks rose by 58% to 3,998. This was primarily due to six ads that attracted a high number of complaints, the report said.

The fifth most-complained about ad was AG Barr's Irn Bru TV spot, featuring a mother and son, which received 223 complaints. A Red Bull TV campaign, featuring the Titanic, was seventh with 179 complaints, while energy drink Pussy Drinks' poster campaign was ninth with 159 complaints.

Barr's and Red Bull's ads escaped sanction, but the complaints about Pussy Drinks were partly upheld. One of the posters featured the word 'Pussy' in large bold text, which was deemed “likely to cause serious offence”.