Pilgrim's Choice razor-wielding cowboy ad escapes ban

A TV ad for Pilgrim's Choice cheese, which features a razor wielding miniature cowboy has escaped a ban from the advertising watchdog, despite receiving 35 complaints.

The ad by Karmarama features a woman opening her fridge door as a voice behind her says "easy there, pilgrim."

The woman turns around to see a miniature cowboy sitting on the kitchen counter, wiping an oversized cut-throat razor on a tea-towel.

The cowboy then shaves himself with the large blade, wiping the razor across his face and neck, as he speaks to the woman in a low, gravely voice.

He then jumps off the counter saying, "I’ll let myself out" as he runs from the room.

The ad ends with the cowboy exiting through a cat flap. On the way he points an oversized gun at a cat and says "back off, Mr Wiggles".

In total, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) received 35 complaints. Twenty-four challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.

Seventeen challenged whether the use of a gun in the final scene was offensive while 17 though the ad trivialised knife crime.

Adams Food, the marker of Pilgrims Choice, stressed the ad was not intended to cause offence or encourage children to copy it.

The company also said Clearcast, the broadcasting vetting agency, had applied a scheduling restriction, which meant it could not be shown around programmes designed to appeal to children under the age of 16.

Adams Foods said despite this protection, it had opted to reschedule the ad to be broadcast only in slots after 9pm.

The company also pointed out that the "gun scene" was clearly intended to be humorous as the cat was almost double the size of the cowboy.

In its ruling the ASA said older children would understand the scenario depicted in the ad was surreal.

It ruled that older children would not copy such a scene and that older children would understand the shaving scene and the dangers of handlings sharp objects.

But the ASA ruled that young children mighty mimic the cowboy's action, which could endanger their health.

Therefore, it judged that the ad should have been a given a 9pm timing restriction and ruled that it had not been appropriately scheduled, a move which Adams Foods subsequently took.

The ASA concluded: "We welcomed Adams Foods' prompt decision to reschedule the ad for broadcast only in post 9pm slots, which had been effective since 19 May.

"In light of that, we considered that no further action was necessary."

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