Uphold or Reject?

It’s a sunny Tuesday afternoon and we are beginning to look at the problems PR officers can come across when a client they are working with is attacked through print, broadcast and online advertisements. Learning about how to deal with these situations and looking at the codes/regulations put into place by bodies such as the ASA, Ofcom and the PCC was interesting however I was more interested in being outside in the lovely weather than looking at regulatory codes. Then we started to look at adverts that had either been upheld or rejected after complaints had been made about them and found that some adverts were being removed from TV for reasons that weren’t really necessary.

In a previous module last year, Sarah Hepworth, Lyndsey Johnson and I gave a presentation on advertising and taboo adverts. We looked mostly at the ASA and their code of practice and to our surprise found that it only takes ONE complaint to completely remove an ad from the TV.

This advert was removed from TV after complaints were made that it was discriminating towards Goths. Is it really discriminating? I remember being at school when this advert was shown and everybody was talking about it, and not in a bad way. It was a really catchy advert and I don’t know of anybody who didn’t know the jingle!

This advert was removed after it was said to be to traumatic and distressing to be shown on TV. However, it’s still available to see on the organisation’s website. Surely the advert needs to be ‘hard-hitting’ in order to get the message across? Is taking this advert off TV not just like letting the bullies win? Something we’re all told not to do.

I believe that it’s right to have codes of practice set in place to ensure that adverts are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful and do not mislead or cause harm or serious or widespread offence’. However, I think that upholding adverts from TV after receiving complaints that they are too distressing or discriminating to Goths is a little bit extreme!

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