A controversial new ad from Direct Line will be back on air early
next year, despite being withdrawn by the Independent Television
Commission last week.
The ITC’s latest TV Advertising Complaints report called for the ad,
which compares Direct Line’s services with those offered by brokers, to
be taken off air after complaints that it was misleading (Campaign, last
The ITC suspended the ad, created by Mortimer Whittaker O’Sullivan,
after receiving complaints from a number of competitors. Now, one rival,
Norwich Union, has apologised for producing and distributing incorrect
and potentially damaging marketing material relating to the ad ahead of
the ITC’s ruling.
The Direct Line commercial, with a single word removed from the script,
is now due back on air in early 1998.
Another veteran foe of the regulatory authorities, Friends of the Earth,
clashed again with the ITC. The row centres on the ITC’s decision not to
uphold a complaint from the pressure group and 19 viewers about CDP’s ad
promoting the visitors’ centre at BNFL. The ITC rejected complaints that
the ad misleadingly implied there was no problem with long-term storage
of nuclear waste, stating: ’This commercial did not put forward
Meanwhile, 35 viewers complained that imagery from the 1914-18 war which
was used in a Pedigree Chum ad created by Grey was in poor taste. But
the ITC ruled that the ad did not trivialise the memory of those who had
fought in the conflict and believed that it would not cause widespread
The commission also rejected 23 complaints about DMB&B’s work to promote
the partnership between Lloyds and TSB. Some people claimed the ad gave
an inaccurate impression of the services available from the two
companies, which have merged. However, the ITC decided that the ads were
unequivocal and not misleading.
The current Sony Minidisc ad from BMP DDB drew complaints from viewers
concerned that a scene showing two men jumping from a bridge on to a
moving train could be copied by children, despite being cleared by the
Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre only for transmission outside
children’s programming. Once again, the ITC decided not to uphold the