Horror show? Charity ads that are 'too violent for children'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Research finds three in 10 under-16s are unsettled by sexual, frightening content

Hard-hitting advertising campaigns aimed at discouraging drink-driving or raising money for charity are frightening children, according to a study published today.

Researchers discovered that three in 10 children aged 11 to 16 had been unsettled by an advert in the last 12 months, with the main concerns being sexual, violent and "scary" content.

Both parents and children were upset by public service campaigns which employed shock tactics to shake people out of bad behaviour, the Advertising Standards Authority report found.

When asked which adverts they found offensive, members of the public spontaneously raised an anti-drink driving campaign by the Department of Environment in Northern Ireland, which featured a runaway car flying into a back garden where a child was playing with a football.

Viewers also voiced objections to charity adverts which present scenes of suffering in an attempt to solicit donations. The report said: "Adverts for international aid charities, animal charities and child protection charities were frequently cited as being offensive, often because they use portrayals of violence or mistreatment in their advertising."

On behalth of the ASA, Ipsos-Mori surveyed 1,288 adults and 1,020 children aged 11-16 between February and April this year to discover whether advertising was offensive.

The researchers found that on the whole the public agreed with the judgments being exercised by the watchdog about what should be shown during commercial breaks. Only one in six adults (16 per cent) said they had been personally offended by an ad or ads in the last 12 months, slightly lower than the 19 per cent when similar ASA research was conducted in 2002.

However the figure was much higher among children, who spontaneously mentioned that they or younger siblings had been recently upset by charity and public service adverts. Parents were also concerned about the adverts.

Some felt the campaigns had gone too far and used distressing content to make people feel upset or guilty, while a number of parents felt charities were pressuring their offspring directly to donate money. Others felt the ads should have more scope to shock because of their worthwhile aims. More generally, the poll revealed a degree of unease about the portrayal of unrealistic body images, although only a minority felt that specific examples of those ads should be banned. There was also concern about women being objectified and men being portrayed as stupid or engaging in juvenile behaviour.

A "few" participants had concerns about sexual content and nudity in advertising, particularly where they could see no link between sex and the product being advertised, but the majority were unconcerned by the level of sexual content and nudity, describing it as relatively inoffensive compared with other types of media.

The study into the public's views of what is harmful and offensive in UK advertising deemed that the ASA was "broadly getting it right" in terms of judging ads inappropriate or harmful.

The Advertising Codes require the ASA to make judgments based on prevailing standards in society, with the study deigned to help inform its decision making on matters relating to harm and offence.

Lord Smith, chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: "This research is invaluable in giving us the opportunity to listen to what the public thinks on matters of harm and offence in ads. While it is reassuring that we generally seem to be getting things right, we cannot ignore the real concerns that have been raised, particularly around children."

He added: "We will now reflect on the findings, for example making sure we consider the perspectives of children even more carefully in the future."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Business Intelligence Program Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: BI Project / Program Manager BI Project...

Radian6/Social Media/Digital Analyst

£250 - £300 per day: Progressive Recruitment: LEAD DIGITAL ANALYST - CONTRACT ...

Head of Technology - London - Up to £70K + Benefits

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Head of Technology -...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil