'Distressing' advert for Sony attacked by ITC

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The Independent Online

A music advert showing a teenager being taken into hospital for mock emergency resuscitation has been condemned by a television watchdog as distressing for people who may have lost relatives in similar circumstances.

A music advert showing a teenager being taken into hospital for mock emergency resuscitation has been condemned by a television watchdog as distressing for people who may have lost relatives in similar circumstances.

The sequence, in which doctors revive the boy by blasting music in his ears, was likely to be upsetting, said the Independent Television Commission.

The emergency team was shown preparing what appeared to be equipment for cardiac shock treatment but which was actually a music player. They touched the earpieces together, as if to check there was a current flowing, then placed them in his ears. His body was seen convulsing, as if receiving an electric shock.

Upholding complaints from 25 viewers, the commission said the ad for Sony's digital music player could upset people who had lost friends or relatives in emergency rooms. It said: "The scenes of mock resuscitation and close-up shots of the 'dead' boy's family were likely to be powerful reminders of tragedy for significant numbers of viewers."

Saatchi & Saatchi, the agency that made the advert, said it was meant to be "slightly surreal" and that its humour would make clear it was not real. The agency said it regretted any distress caused to families who had been through similar experiences. But the commission said the issue was not its realism but whether the advert, which has been suspended, was distressing.

The commission rejected complaints about an advert for the soft drink Irn Bru in which a family is seen singing around a piano. Four people objected to the mother singing: "Even though I used to be a man," and that she is shown shaving her lathered chin. They said the advert mocked transsexual women or those with hormonal imbalances, but the ITC said it was not seriously offensive.

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