Communicator (communicator) wrote,

The grim and the gratuitous

Some controversial adverts for the children's charity Barnardo's have been banned (*). You can see two of the ads here. Warning: you may find these images upsetting. I did when they were in the Guardian.

Metafilter has a comment thread on this decision, with links to the Advertising Standards Authority decision. A good post here from an advertising executive on the temptation to go over the top.

(*) Note: the ASA enforces a voluntary code of practice, this is not a legal ban.

I consider the Barnardo's adverts ill-judged. What exactly are the images intended to convey, that could not be conveyed with greater impact by using real life instances of poverty? In fact I think they let us off the hook by turning a real problem into a fake shock. I didn't complain about them though.

I did once complain to the ASA about an advert, and it was then banned. It was a poster ad for the Daily Telegraph - a right wing newspaper read predominantly at the time by middle aged business men. It was intended to dramatise the message that their sports coverage was comprehensive.

The slogan was 'From Swimming to Fishing' (we report on the lot... etc.)Accompanying this slogan was a cartoon of a woman in a bikini, hanging from a huge fish hook. I think the hook went through her neck, and her head was kind of flopping down, dead.

I was on the tube, surrounded by suit-wearing old gits, the only girl on the train (I was mid-twenties then) and I look up and see a girl like me, hanging dead and almost naked from a hook. And I thought 'fuck you, Telegraph'. It was pointless to write to them saying I wouldn't buy their paper, as they explicitly didn't want young female readers, in those days.

So I wrote to the ASA, and I suppose other people did too. Anyway the posters were taken down.

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