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Banned advert is 'most talked-about'

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Analysts have concluded a recent chewing gum commercial which was withdrawn after a record number of complaints is proof that even bad publicity can be useful.

The Wrigley's X-cite advert featuring a dog crawling out of a man's mouth sparked 570 complaints to the Independent Television Commission in the first 10 days alone.

Martin Loat, managing director of public relations firm Propeller which analysed press coverage between January and March, said: "As the most talked-about ad of the year so far, Wrigley's X-cite is a good example of all publicity being good publicity.

"Although the complaints prompted the national press stories, the coverage itself was not unduly negative and arguably did a great deal to enhance the brand's stock among its target consumers."

The report shows six of the top 11 most written about adverts in 2003 made waves because they were either banned or were controversial.

In joint second place was news that the doorstep challenge series of adverts for Daz washing powder had been axed and the announcement that DBS Management, a firm of financial advisers, had been fined £100,000 over "misleading" advertising.

Former England footballer Gary Lineker features in joint fifth place after parents branded him "greedy" for plugging Walkers crisps.

Also in fifth position was fast food giant McDonald's which had to pull its Steak Premiere TV advert after confessing the product featured looked nothing like what they served customers.

Propeller Communications refused to say how many stories were written about each advert in national newspapers because the information is contained in the report which it intends to sell to clients.