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