The latest St Luke’s TV work for Ikea has been slammed by 175
viewers who found the ads offensive and racist, according to the latest
Television Advertising Complaints Report from the Independent Television
The ads for the Swedish furniture chain feature a spoof psychiatrist
satirising supposedly typical English reserve and conventionality and
encouraging viewers to be more adventurous with their choice of
The endline urged viewers: ’Don’t be so English.’
However, many viewers objected that the ad was racist and found it
particularly objectionable originating from a foreign company.
Executions which showed the psychiatrist giving another man a peck on
the cheek and one which suggested a lesbian relationship were also
deemed offensive by some complainants.
The ITC rejected the complaints on the grounds that the ad was unlikely
to encourage prejudice and that the kiss and the lesbian overtones were
unlikely to be found offensive by most viewers.
TBWA GGT Simons Palmer’s work for the introduction of the Euro drew
complaints from 106 viewers who felt that the ads were harmful. The
campaign shows a fictitious businessman haranguing his staff for not
being aware of the serious implications of the changes.
More than half of the offended viewers objected to the suggestion that
the businessman might condone and encourage bullying at work. Other
viewers objected that the ads amounted to political propaganda.
TBWA argued that it had balanced the businessman’s energy with ’moments
of calm and words of support and encouragement’. However, the ITC said
that the emphasis of the campaign was on the aggressive approach.
The ITC sympathised with the views of the complainants but nevertheless
concluded that the campaign was unlikely to have a significant influence
on managers’ behaviour At the same time, the ITC felt that the
advertising was not attempting to influence attitudes to the Euro and
the complaints were rejected.