U.K. Advertising Standards Authority Bans Anti-Terrorism Radio Spot
August 11, 2010 at 7:12 AM (PT)
The U.K.'s ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY has banned a radio spot produced by UTV Sports TALKSPORT for an anti-terrorism hotline from the ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS that advised listeners to look for suspicious behavior by neighbors. The ruling held that the commercial could cause "serious offence" by suggesting that people who keep to themselves, keep their curtains drawn, and use cash instead of bank cards might be considered suspicious. A total of 35 listeners complained about the ad on three grounds, offensiveness, harm, and undue appeal to fear.
"(W)e considered that the ad could also describe the behaviour of a number of law-abiding people within a community and we considered that some listeners, who might identify with the behaviours referred to in the ad, could find the implication that their behaviour was suspicious, offensive," wrote the ASA in its opinion. "We also considered that some listeners might be offended by the suggestion that they report members of their community for acting in the way described. We therefore concluded that the ad could cause serious offence."
The ASA ruled that the spot breached CAP (Broadcast) Radio Advertising Standards Code section 2 rule 9 (Good taste, decency and offence to public feeling), but did not breach the rules against harm or "superstition and appeals to fear."