Ads showing people jumping off a cliff into an open water pool have been banned following complaints they condoned the potentially deadly practice of tombstoning.
The two TV ads and a cinema ad for Hostelworld.com drew 20 complaints from viewers that the footage of young adults leaping naked into the pool in Mexico depicted tombstoning, which could result in serious injury or death.
Hostelworld.com denied that the ads showed or encouraged tombstoning, which it described as the dangerous practice of jumping into water from cliffs without prior knowledge of the potential dangers.
The ad was filmed at the Ik Kil cenote, or water sinkhole, in Mexico, a popular tourist spot which had signs stating that the depth of the water was over 50 metres.
Hostelworld said the ad showed a group of people who had decided to jump into the waters together, knowing it was safe to do so.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that a number of people had been killed or seriously injured in the UK as a result of tombstoning, and said it was important that ads did not condone or encourage such an unsafe practice.
It believed that most viewers would not be familiar with the location and would assume that the group was taking part in a spontaneous activity with no supervision.
It said: "We considered that the length of the fall could have been dangerous, and that there was a risk of injury if the jump was emulated, particularly if it was done in a location which was not specifically designed for such activities."
It also noted that one man seemed apprehensive about jumping, but was encouraged to do so by the rest of the group.
The ASA added: "We considered that the encouragement from the group in response to his apprehension, and their subsequent reaction, suggested that the man's behaviour was brave and admirable, and that the group's respect for him had increased as a result.
"Therefore, we considered that the man was being presented in a more positive light for having done something which might be considered dangerous."
It ruled that the ads were likely to condone or encourage a dangerous practice and must not be broadcast again.
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