Watchdog condemns rocker for a face that doesn't fit

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A rock singer hailed as the "saviour of music" has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for having a face that is "gratuitously distressing" and likely to upset children.

The watchdog condemned Andrew WK as the unacceptable face of rock after receiving two complaints about adverts for his debut album, I Get Wet, released last November. It was voted number nine in the music magazine NME's top 50 albums of the year.

The album cover shows a close-up of the lank-haired American singer's face, with blood running from his nose, down his chin and on to his neck. The album, which features songs with names such as "Party Til You Puke" and "It's Time to Party", has been taken seriously by the music press, andNME proclaimed him the "saviour of music".

Its cover was reproduced in poster advertisements by his London record company, Mercury Records. It provoked complaints because the image suggested the singer had been taking cocaine, and because it could frighten "children and vulnerable people".

The authority accepted Mercury Records' argument that the nosebleed was not associated with taking cocaine but it upheld the complaints, ruling: "Because of its graphic nature and implication of violence, the image was gratuitously distressing and likely to cause serious or widespread offence, especially because it ... would be seen by children."

Mercury Records has been ordered not to use the image in paid-for advertisements.

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