Channel 4's The End of the F*****g World ad banned

Despite use of asterisks, meaning was still clear, ASA said.

Channel 4: broadcaster slapped on the wrist over ad promoting TV show
Channel 4: broadcaster slapped on the wrist over ad promoting TV show

An ad for Channel 4 promoting the new series of TV show The End of the F***ing World has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for being offensive.

The poster appeared outside conference centre ExCel London in February and prompted a single complaint from someone who challenged whether it was offensive and inappropriate because of the risk of it being seen by children.

It was displayed for only one day, Channel 4 said in its response to the ASA, because it received a complaint from the local council and removed it to "maintain good relations".

Nonetheless, it said it believed the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because the asterisks masked almost all of the word, giving it a "less offensive" presentation.

Channel 4 also maintained that the poster was justified because it was the title of a TV programme. 

But the ASA upheld the complaint, banned the ad in its current form and told Channel 4 not to let it appear again.

"We told Channel 4 to ensure they avoided causing serious or widespread offence by, for example, avoiding references to expletives in media targeted to a general audience which included children," the watchdog said in its ruling.

A spokesperson for Channel 4 told Campaign: "We believe we took appropriate precautions to avoid causing offence by obscuring part of the programme title with asterisks on the small number of posters aimed at fans en route to the MCM Comic-Con exhibition, where the show was celebrated. Although we’re disappointed with the outcome, we acknowledge the ASA’s ruling."

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