Advertising: Devilish car campaign backfires

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The Independent Online
An advertisement for the Citroen Saxo car triggered an avalanche of complaints from viewers angry at its devil imagery, according to a report published today. A staggering 241 viewers complained about the advertisement - nearly double the number of protests over Rover's controversial commercial featuring a hostage exchange.

The Rover advertisement was pulled from the screen after a public outcry and claims that it trivialised the experiences of hostages, and was insensitive to the feelings of relatives of two Britons held captive in Kashmir.

The Independent Television Commission said that more than 50 parents had complained that the Citroen advert had terrorised their children. The advert features evil spirits flying around a gloomy factory as a Citroen car is transformed from a standard to a sporty model.

As the change is completed, the driver's face "morphs" into that of the devil, with a voiceover proclaiming: "The new Citroen Saxo VTS is a Saxo, but with a bit of the devil inside it."

The ITC said "a significant" number of viewers had complained they found references to the devil offensive and others said they believed the advert could encourage road-rage.

It upheld complaints about the scheduling of the advert and ordered that it should not be shown before 7.30pm.