Beckham Adidas ad dodges ban

LONDON - A celebrity-filled TV ad for the sporting brand Adidas has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad, by the Montreal agency Sid Lee, depicted a house party attended by well-known musicians and athletes. It featured a hand with a spray can in front of a mural on a wall, young people riding on scooters, a poker game and various other party-related scenes.

Several celebrities, including David Beckham, Missy Elliot and Estelle, were shown to be at the party. The endline read: "Celebrate originality."

One viewer objected that the ad appeared to condone and promote dangerous driving on scooters, and anti-social activities such as graffiti.

Adidas said that no-one was actually shown using the spray cans and that the scooter riders were all wearing helmets and were driving safely. The advertiser said the ad merely exhibited inclusion and people having fun at a party.

In addition, Adidas said the ad had been given a broadcast restriction and was not shown during or immediately after children’s programmes.

Clearcast backed Adidas’ explanation and further said that the mural was an artwork commissioned to celebrate the brand’s 60th birthday.

The ASA noted that the mural was not on a public building but on a private residence and therefore could not be seen as an act of vandalism.

The watchdog felt that the overall tone of the ad depicted people enjoying themselves in a safe and happy environment and that the ad was given a scheduling restriction. Therefore, no further action was deemed necessary.