Live TV, Mirror Group’s cable TV channel, has turned up the heat in its
dispute with the Advertising Standards Authority over a print ad that
was banned after offending the Queen.
The station initially threatened to defy the ban by the advertising
watchdogs, who have backed demands by the Queen to withdraw the press
and poster ad in which a grinning Paul Gascoigne appears to be kissing
the Princess of Wales (see story, p6).
However, Mirror TV’s managing director, Kelvin MacKenzie, has now
ordered Young and Rubicam to come up with a remake, in which Gascoigne’s
head is replaced by that of Will Carling, the rugby player with whom
Princess Diana has been romantically linked.
The original ad was banned because of a clause in the ASA’s code of
practice that prohibits the use of members of the Royal Family in ads
without prior approval from the Lord Chancellor.
Caroline Crawford, the ASA’s director of communications, said the use of
Carling may well cause offence, in addition to transgressing the same
clause. She also called into question the likelihood of media owners,
who help write the self-regulatory codes, accepting the ad.
‘Although Live TV may go to the expense of changing the artwork, it will
find it difficult to get the ad published,’ she commented.
‘Media owners support the ASA codes. If they print this ad they will be
in breach of their own codes, which would be very unusual,’ Crawford
However, MacKenzie, who has labelled the ‘no Royals’ clause ‘arcane’ and
‘outdated’, was unrepentant. He told Campaign: ‘Live TV is a fun station
and this was a fun ad. Obviously, the Queen and the ASA can’t see the
joke, so we’ve got our creative team to come up with another ad to
replace it. We hope it’s more historically accurate.’