BBH Heat commercials fall foul of ITC

The Independent Television Commission has pulled the plug on Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s ads for Emap’s weekly entertainment magazine, Heat, after receiving more than 300 complaints.

The Independent Television Commission has pulled the plug on Bartle

Bogle Hegarty’s ads for Emap’s weekly entertainment magazine, Heat,

after receiving more than 300 complaints.



The ads, which launched the magazine, show people reading Heat and

becoming engulfed by flames. Although the actors remain unaffected by

the fires, viewers found the ads disturbing.



Most complaints referred to the shocking imagery and many commented on

the scheduling of the ads before the watershed and the fact that the

campaign could have a harmful effect on children.



A significant number of objections related to viewers’ own experiences

of fire: many had either been in a fire or had lost relatives in a

blaze.



According to the ITC, ’It appeared from some of these complaints that a

significant degree of distress had been caused.’



The ITC said it had always accepted that it is necessary to apply

different standards to the treatment of shocking or potentially

offensive material in ads as opposed to in programmes. With programmes,

viewers usually have some preconception of the material they are likely

to see; with ads, however, viewers have no foreknowledge of what images

will appear on their screens.



In the case of the Heat campaign, the ITC decided that the distress

caused went beyond what could be justified in television advertising and

requested that the commercials be withdrawn from 30 March.



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