BSkyB warned over scheduling of Nicorette ad

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has found BSkyB in breach of ad scheduling rules after it aired an ad with an ex-kids restriction during an episode of The Simpsons.

The ad, by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, for Nicorette Icy White chewing-gum prompted a complaint from one viewer whose seven-year-old child had found the mouth in the ad frightening.

The ASA also challenged whether showing the ad during The Simpsons was inappropriate scheduling due to the ad’s ex-kids restriction.

The advertiser, Johnson & Johnson, defended the ad, saying it had purposely tried to give the ad a playful and funny tone so as not to distress younger viewers.

J&J further stated that it had no control over the broadcasters’ scheduling of the ad.

BSkyB argued that The Simpsons was not a children’s programme and that the reaction of the complainant’s child was not representative of the reactions of most children aged over four years.

The ASA noted the ad’s light-hearted music and cartoon-like style of the mouth and considered the ad was unlikely to frighten young children.

However, because the ad had been given an ex-kids restriction, the watchdog felt that scheduling it around The Simpsons, which was watched by a significant number of young children, represented a breach of the rules on the scheduling of advertising.

The watchdog warned Sky to be more careful with the scheduling of future ads.