ASA orders 11pm watershed for horror film trailer

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered a later timing restriction for three TV ads promoting the cinema release of The Last House On The Left after 19 people complained.

Viewers objected that the ads aired before 10pm and during ITV1’s Britain’s Got Talent contained excessive violence and should therefore be broadcast much later at a time when children were unlikely to be watching.

Empire Design, the agency that created the ads, said they used the least explicit scenes edited into quick-cut montages to give an overview of the film’s content. ITV said it scheduled the ads according to Clearcast’s timing restrictions and supplied data to demonstrate that Britain’s Got Talent was not of particular appeal to children within the viewing population as a whole.

The ASA noted that although the ads had been broadcast after their respective 7.30pm and 9pm timing restrictions, the 7.30pm restriction did not take into account the possibility that young children might be watching TV between the hours of 7.30pm and 9pm.

Viewers would also be aware that the ads broadcast after the 9pm watershed would contain more adult content; however, children up to the age of 12 could still be watching.

It felt the themes of terror within the film, including home invasion and a girl being attacked, were clearly portrayed in the ads’ imagery and voiceover. It also considered the eerie music and darkly lit effects in the ads to be sinister and threatening.

It concluded that the timing restrictions applied to the ads were insufficient to prevent younger viewers from becoming distressed. The ads must not be broadcast again before 11pm.