UK TV regulator bans ads for Emap's Heat

- The Independent Television Commission has pulled the plug on Bartle Bogle Hegarty's ads for Emap's new weekly entertainment magazine, Heat, after receiving over 300 complaints.

- The Independent Television Commission has pulled the plug on Bartle Bogle Hegarty's ads for Emap's new weekly entertainment magazine, Heat, after receiving over 300 complaints.

The ads, which were created to help launch the magazine, show a series of images of people reading Heat and becoming surrounded by flames. Although the actors remain unaffected by the fires, viewers found the ads disturbing.

The majority of 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 personal involvement with fire: many had either being 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 that 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 pop up on their screens.

In the case of the Heat campaign, the ITC decided that the distress caused ultimately went beyond what could be justified in television advertising and requested that the ads be withdrawn from 30 March.

Gary Twelvetree, the marketing manager for Heat, said that the ad campaign was scheduled to finish at the end of March anyway after a nine week run.

"We're reviewing our options now," Twelvetree said. "The use of flames has created high awareness for us and real cut-through and we're now looking to work with the British Advertising Copy Clearance Centre to try to find ways of using the flames without causing offence."

He added that BBH is now in talks with the BACC to see if the current campaign can be modified to satisfy the ITC. Heat is planning its next burst of TV advertising for the summer.



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