Storm clouds gathered in Paris this month when French opticians Visual aired its latest funky and irreverent spot promoting two specs for the price of one.
The cheeky ad that shows how the glass from your complimentary second pair could come from anywhere as unhygienic as the public toilets or as bizarre as a porn shop, triggered a brawl when it's arch rival threatened legal action unless the ads were pulled from French TV. As a result, the ads were banned for three weeks, while Afflelou, the offended party, took Visual to court. Why all the fuss over a bit of fun you might ask yourself? Well, the ad is based on the premise that the second free pair of glasses is often poor quality in some optician stores and Afflelou argued that this assumption was an insulting one, given that it was the first company to offer consumers such a deal.
Luckily for Visual, the ads were deemed harmless and are back on TV. Afflelou, however, is appealing against the decision.
Moving on to football, cowboys and cans of Pepsi... Any ad featuring David Beckham becomes tabloid-worthy before it's even hit the screens. His latest Spaghetti Western spoof for Pepsi, where he stars as as chief cowboy, is no exception.
The story of Pepsi's dream football team turned cowboys was covered in most of the UK nationals and all the tabloids, ranging from speculation about how much the national football hero earned for his fleeting role to focusing on what the cast wore.
Based on the 1957 classic Gunfight at the OK Corral and shot in Almeria, Spain, (the backdrop for some of the most famous western scenes in film history), the multi-million pound commercial pits Beckham and his Manchester United mates against Real Madrid's Raul, Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane. The players are clad in long leather coats which open to reveal holsters filled with cans of Pepsi instead of pistols.
According to some press reports, the England captain was asked to play the starring role because apparently he has a way with horses. Whether this is true or not, the superstar was reported as saying: "I think this is my favourite ad so far. I used to play cowboys and Indians as a boy - I was always a cowboy."
The launch of NSPCC's hard-hitting series of TV spots earlier this month attracted a wave of TV coverage from breakfast television to evening news bulletins as well as national press and feature coverage on Radio 3 and Radio 5 Live. As part of the charity's 'Full Stop' campaign, the ads aim to strike a chord among stressed parents who experience angry feelings towards their children that can lead to violence. At the end of the spots, parents are urged to ring the charity's 24-hour helpline if they feel close to breaking point.
The spots are powerful and sensitive given the subject matter and rather than showing potential child abusers as monsters, the ads adopt a more empathic stance. John Ground, the NSPCC director of communications said: "A baby's scream can be as loud as a road drill. A normal toddler makes more than a 100 demands every day. We wanted to get a message to parents that it's this normal behaviour which can act as a trigger for abuse, in a way which doesn't lecture them."
Yet the charity was lambasted in the press for spending too much money on advertising and wasting time on trying to ban parental smacking and too little on children at genuine risk of abuse, particularly in light of the Victoria Climbie case.