A Hallowe’en-themed video ad by UK virtual mobile network giffgaff was likely to offend or distress viewers, according to the Advertising Standards Authority. It upheld a number of complaints about the ‘Different Takes Guts’ advertisement on YouTube.
The ad showed characters playing with what appeared to be blood, entrails and various body organs while in a swimming pool.
Giffgaff said its ads aimed to be playful and humorous rather than frightening, with the literal use of ‘guts’ as a play on words about being courageous. It also said the ad was targeted at over 18s and had been approved by YouTube before being accepted.
However, while acknowledging that gory imagery was often more prevalent at Hallowe’en, the ASA “considered that the scenes of blood, guts and other organs being thrown around were extensive, graphic and excessively gory”. It also pointed out that the ads were shown in connection with unrelated videos and without any warning.
As a result, it ruled that the ad breached its rules on harm and offence.
A complaint about a shorter horror-themed video ad promoted via Facebook was not upheld.
[ASA adjudication; YouTube video]