Live TV is threatening to defy advertising watchdogs who have backed
demands by the Queen to withdraw a poster in which a grinning Paul
Gascoigne appears to be kissing the Princess of Wales.
Kelvin MacKenzie, the managing director of Mirror Television, which owns
Live TV, has pledged to run the ad again rather than bow to what he
called an outdated and arcane ad code.
The ASA’s action follows a complaint by the Queen’s press secretary,
Charles Anson, who branded the national press ad ‘distasteful’ and said
the royal family had not given permission for the picture to be used.
Young and Rubicam produced the ad to promote the satellite station’s
morning programme, Live Predic-tions. It featured a doctored picture of
the Prince and Princess of Wales on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
after their wedding ceremony. The Prince’s head was substituted by
Gascoigne’s above the line, ‘Who knows what the future holds?’
Live TV had argued that, because the picture had been in the public
domain for 15 years, its use was not an invasion of privacy. It also
claimed the ad was humorous rather than offensive.
But the ASA ruled that the ad breached regulations because Live TV had
failed to consult the Lord Chamberlain’s office.
Meanwhile, Paul McKenna, the hypnotist famous for his own TV series, has
been carpeted over exaggerated claims in national press ads for hypnosis
The ads claimed the tapes ‘give you the power to succeed’ and that
‘improvement starts right away’.
The ASA has also berated Times Newspapers for what it alleged was the
company’s continued flouting of the rules governing editorial
Its criticisms came in the wake of complaints about two promotions. One,
in the Sunday Times, advertised ‘free’ audiobooks which in reality cost
pounds 1.98 for postage and packing. The other, in the Times, was for a
competition that boasted of ‘Microsoft multimedia packages worth pounds
4,500 to be won’. In fact, there were 25 prizes of pounds 180.
The ASA, which has already upheld nine complaints against Times
Newspapers in the last year, said it was expecting the controversy about
editorial promotions to subside following the issuing of new guidelines.