NEWS: Hamlet ‘finger’ Lottery spoof and Bobbitt’s severed penis poster draw ASA’s censure

Gallaher Tobacco has been forced to withdraw its spoof National Lottery poster ads for Hamlet cigars after a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Gallaher Tobacco has been forced to withdraw its spoof National Lottery

poster ads for Hamlet cigars after a ruling by the Advertising Standards

Authority.



The ads, created by Collett Dickenson Pearce, subvert the well-known

‘hand of fate’ image from the lottery ads. Instead of a finger pointing

through a window at the lucky winner, the hand is ‘giving the finger’ to

a lottery loser, who takes solace in smoking his Hamlet cigar (Campaign,

15 September).



The poster attracted 230 complaints, most of which stated that the

illustrated gesture was offensive. Its influence on children was raised

and one complainant claimed the ad had been placed next to a primary

school. Tobacco ads are prohibited within 200 metres of schools.



In its monthly report for September, the ASA rejected Gallaher’s defence

that the gesture was in common use and therefore not offensive.



At the same time, the watchdog ruled against a Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad

that used an image of John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis. Created for the

International Fund for Animal Welfare, it was designed to highlight the

slaughter and castration of seals in Canada.



The ad carries a photograph of Bobbitt’s severed penis next to a kitchen

knife, with the line: ‘When it happened to John Wayne Bobbitt, it got

worldwide exposure. When it happens to 10,000 seals, it gets slightly

less coverage.’



Another charity, Friends of the Earth, which was censured for an ad that

accused loggers in the Brazilian rain forest of murder, has hit back at

critics of charity advertising. The environmental pressure group has

released records kept by Brazil’s Indian affairs agency confirming four

counts of murder and other acts of aggression connected with activities

in the rainforest.



Meanwhile, BBC Radio 1 is under fire from pressure groups about an ad by

St Luke’s, which appeared in last Monday’s Times. The Association of

Retired and Persons Over 50 has written to Lord Rogers, the chairman of

the ASA, to complain that the execution depicts all old people as deaf.