'Aggressive' Irn Bru ad escapes ban after police complaint

LONDON - A TV ad for energy drink Irn Bru 32 featuring a student being tormented by a Glaswegian man in a cuckoo suit has escaped a ban after the advertising watchdog rejected 34 complaints, including calls from the police that it was 'violent and aggressive'.

Created by The Leith, the ad shows a student in a library staring blankly into space when a man dressed in a cuckoo suit suddenly bursts through a bookcase towards him.

The cuckoo hands the student a can of Irn Bru 32, Irn Bru's energy drink brand, and says in a hard-sounding Glasgow accent: "Wakey, wakey! Smart Alec are ye? Eh? Well get this doon yer pie-hole clever clogs. Irn Bru 32. Pure mental stimulation in a can."

The librarian puts her fingers to her lips to ask him to be quiet, to which the man responds: "I'll shhh you, you tweedy old crow."

The Advertising Standards Authority received 34 complaints about the ad, including one from the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit of Strathclyde Police and one from the clinical director of Glasgow Royal Infirmary's A&E department.

All viewers were concerned that the language, theme and tone of the TV ad, which they described as "violent and aggressive", was offensive.

The advertising watchdog said: "The language, theme and tone of the ads was likely to be taken as humorous and referring clearly to a comic Glasgow stereotype. We considered the ads were unlikely in themselves to increase violent behaviour and that they were unlikely to cause serious, widespread or general offence."

A Fanta television also accused of violence escaped a ban too this week. The spot for the Coca Cola-owned brand showed a woman slapping a man in the face after he told her "I like your bubbles". The ad was said to glorify domestic violence by a viewer who complained to the advertising watchdog, but it escaped a ban.

Created by McCann Erickson Dublin, the ad was shown in Northern Ireland and features people on a tropical island.

During the ad, a man approaches a woman and says "I like your bubbles" and she slaps him in the face. The man then says "You're orange" so the woman slaps him in the face again. The slapping actions are accompanied with comic sound effects.

Finally, the man says "I can't get enough of you", and the woman says "Ahhh" and smiles. The ad ends with a bottle of Fanta popping up on screen with the tagline "Stay Bambooch (live large)".

A viewer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the ad "glorified, encouraged and trivialised domestic violence".

Coca Cola Ireland, which launched the ad, said it was intended to have a humorous and playful tone.

The ASA decided that the ad was likely to be seen by viewers as a light-hearted portrayal of theatrical violence and unlikely to be seen as a realistic depiction of cruel or violent behaviour.

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