UK virtual mobile network giffgaff’s attempts to target its humorous horror-themed video ads have fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ASA received a complaint about a giffgaff advertisement on YouTube, which began with a screaming woman being pursued by a man who appeared to be holding a chainsaw. The complainant said their child had seen the ad before a programme for younger viewers.
In its response, giffgaff said the ad - which was designed to be a playful parody rather than scary - was only delivered to YouTube viewers whose account details recorded them as being over the age of 18. In addition, an extra level of targeting only made the ad available to account holders who who’d previously searched online for topics such as ‘horror’ or ‘Halloween’.
However, the ASA ruled that giffgaff’s ad had breached the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code rule on social responsibility. It said that although the account holder was over 18, it was likely they’d only be watching certain types of programme if accompanied by young children. Therefore, while giffgaff had attempted to target the ad, its targeting had not been entirely successful.
Last year another Hallowe’en advertisement from giffgaff also had a number of complaints upheld by the ASA.