ITC withdraws AMV's Right Guard ad over comparison to 9/11

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's spot for Gillette Right Guard attracted 159 complaints to the Independent Television Commission from viewers who found it reminiscent of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre.

It shows an office worker trying to get out of a building being demolished by a wrecking ball as a test to see if his deodorant is effective. A TV presenter outside gives a running commentary on the worker's progress as he desperately attempts to escape.

In particular, viewers found the scene where the man runs down a dust-filled stairwell too reminiscent of the attacks in New York. They also complained that at the time of airing, the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks was looming and that this was particularly inappropriate.

In response, AMV edited the ad to emphasise the fact that the office worker was taking part in a game and removed the stairwell scene that had caused particular offence. The ad was then taken off-air a few days before the anniversary of the attacks with a view to it returning ten days later.

The ITC accepted that the similarities were unintentional and noted the positive steps that AMV had taken but said that despite the re-edit, more complaints came in. The complaints were upheld and neither ad will be shown again.