MTV Networks blunder leads to Premier Inn ad being banned

LONDON - A TV ad for Premier Inn Hotels featuring comedian Lenny Henry re-enacting a scene from horror film 'The Shining' has been banned during children's programming after a "technical error" by MTV Networks broadcaster Nick Jr.

The Advertising Standards Authority received eight complaints about the suitability of the ad after it was shown on children's channel Nick Jr.

The ad, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R, showed Lenny Henry in a parody of the film 'The Shining', based on the novel by Stephen King, attacking a door with an axe and putting his head through the hole, saying "Here's Lenny".

The ad then showed another Lenny Henry on the other side of the door, who said to camera: "A bad night's sleep at some hotels can really make you grumpy."

Premier Inn, owned by Whitbread, said there had been an error in the planning of the ad and it should not have appeared on the TV channel.

It also said it had reconfirmed to its media agency ZenithOptimedia that the ad was meant to be aired on channels which reach its adult target audience.

The ASA ruled that although the ad was broadcast on Nick Jr in error, the aggressive behaviour portrayed by Lenny Henry and the menacing tone and music of that scene was likely to frighten and cause distress to younger children.

It said: "We also considered that, because young children would not understand the ad's reference to 'The Shining', they would be unlikely to appreciate the comic context in which the menacing Lenny appeared, and could find him threatening."

The advertising watchdog concluded that the ad must not appear in its current form in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.