Bereavement and sex proved equally contentious advertising themes
in the latest Independent Television Commission TV Advertising
Complaints Report, with a host of agencies forced to amend or withdraw
The death of Levi’s Kevin the Hamster, the hearse scene in the latest
Heineken ad and the shocking crash in the Department of Environment’s
rear seat-belts campaign caused widespread distress.
After receiving 519 complaints about Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Levi’s work
- since withdrawn by the agency - the ITC decided not to uphold the
objections but imposed a 9pm restriction should the ad return to TV.
Lowe Howard-Spink’s latest Heineken ad drew 88 complaints for a scene
showing a hearse and coffin bearing the word ’Dad’. The ITC did not rule
out the use of black humour in ads but felt that the word ’Dad’
increased the ad’s potential to cause distress. The complaints were
upheld and the ITC called for the ad to be amended.
More than 250 viewers objected to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO’ rear
seat-belts ad showing a teenage boy fatally injuring his mother as he is
hurled from the back to the front of a car after a crash. Viewers
complained about the horrific nature of the ad and its unsettling effect
The ITC felt that, in areas of public safety, hard-hitting campaigns
were generally more effective, but decided that it should not be
screened when young children were likely to be viewing.
BBH’s Lynx ad featuring bikini-clad cavewomen, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper’s
Peugeot 306 commercial showing a couple frolicking on a beach and AMV’s
Gillette Male Body Spray ad with a skydiver crash-landing in a hospital
ward and immediately being surrounded by attractive nurses, all riled
viewers with their strong sexual themes. All complaints were
However, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe’s ad for the Times and Publicis’
work for the Renault Laguna both drew censure for flouting rules on
flashing sequences which could cause seizures in epileptics.
A number of ads, including AMV’s work for Granada Digital Television and
BT’s ISDN and local calls, Sky Television trailers, BMP DDB’s ads for
British Gas and Collett Dickenson Pearce’s last work for Courts had
complaints against them upheld for misleading price claims.