"Definitely a God" poster tops ad complaints

British author Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, stands on a bus at the launch of an atheist advertising campaign, in London January 6, 2008. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - A bus poster which claimed “There definitely is a God” attracted more complaints than any other advert last year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said on Wednesday.

More than 1,200 people complained that the Christian Party’s advert was offensive to atheists and could not be substantiated.

The poster was a response to an ad last year by the British Humanist Association (BHA) which stated “There’s probably no God -- now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

The ASA did not investigate either of the adverts, saying political party campaigns were outside its remit.

Overall in Britain, there was a 14 percent increase in complaints about health and beauty adverts, while the number of complaints about alcohol adverts fell 26 percent. A television advert for German carmaker Volkswagen which included graphic scenes of a man fighting his clones was the second most complained about ad, attracting more than 1,000 objections and drawing a ruling it should not be shown before 9pm.

An advert for HomePride oven cleaner that said: “So easy, even a man can do it” came third, with 804 complaints. The ASA did not agree it was offensive, however, ruling it tongue-in-cheek.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Steve Addison