Barnardo's defends hard-hitting campaign in Sunday ads

LONDON - Children's charity Barnardo's ran full-page ads in the Sunday press justifying the severity of its recent press and radio advertising campaign, which featured shocking images of a baby with objects such as a heroin addict's syringe stuck in its mouth.

The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 400 complaints about the ads, but has not yet ruled on whether the campaign should be pulled or not.

The full page ads, which ran in papers including the Mail on Sunday, Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Times, took the form of an open letter from Barnardo's chief executive Roger Singleton, headlined: "It's easy to turn a blind eye to poverty. Just turn the page".

In the letter he argues that the campaign, which also features a baby suckling on a bottle of methylated spirits and another with a cockroach crawling out of its mouth, is necessary to "draw attention to the fact that poverty still seriously damages the lives and prospects of some children in this country".

Singleton invited readers to visit the charity's website or call 0800 032 7222 to obtain a copy of the charity's report 'Poverty wrecks futures', if they want to learn more about the evidence upon which the campaign is based.

Unless the campaign is banned by the ASA the press ads are due to run for another one month in national newspapers.

The campaign was inspired by the fact that the UK has the worst child poverty rate in Europe with 3.8m children living in poverty.

It shows that many children have the odds stacked against them before they are born by turning the cliche "born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth on its head".

The campaign was art directed by Johnny Leathers and written by George Prest. John Ayling & Associates planned and bought the media. The images for the press ads were photographed by Miles Aldridge.

Last year, BBH's child prostitution campaign for Barnardo's, showing children in sexual abuse scenes, escaped censure despite 20 complaints to the advertising watchdog.

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