ASA rules outdoor Channel Four programme ad as inappropriate for outdoor displays which might be seen by children
The outdoor poster for the programme, seen in October, featured the text “THE END OF THE F*****G WORLD”. The Channel Four logo was placed below, followed by the text “This November” underneath. The ad was placed in a street close to the Excel Centre in London.
Reportedly, the issues that the ad posed were that it was “likely to cause serious or widespread offence,” and that it was “inappropriate for outdoor display where it might be seen by children.”
Channel Four, in response, said that the ad was in fact directed to a specific audience due to its proximity to the Excel Centre in London, where the MCM Comic-Con exhibition was being held. It also stated that the apparent expletive had been partly obscured by asterisks and therefore posed no threat of causing any offence.
Bay Media, stated additionally, that whilst the ad did feature an expletive, it was not displayed prominently and steps were taken to ensure that its impact was mitigated. It also said that its internal approval process would be reviewed for future occasions, and that the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Copy Advice would be taken into account related to that campaign.
In the end, the ASA upheld its decision and noted that despite the expletive being mostly obscured and the ad being aimed at a specific audience, the meaning of the word was still clear and was inappropriate for outdoor display where it might be seen by children.
Channel Four were told that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about, and to ensure they avoided causing serious or widespread offence by, for example, avoiding references to expletives in media targeted to a general audience which included children.