Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Advertising Standards Authority Finds Supermarket Ad Breaches Code; Targets Children

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against the supermarket chain Morrisons, which mounted an ad campaign featuring as a prize a trip to Disneyland Paris. The campaign showed children "pestering" their parents to take them to Morrisons where they could get trading cards that might include the winning holiday prize. Parents complained that the campaign aired during times when children were watching television; Morrisons countered that the commercials aired generally during adult viewing times.

The ASA ruled

the ad appeared on several children’s television channels and would therefore have been seen by children. We also noted that the ad featured children and offered collectable Disney cards, as well as the chance to win a holiday to Disneyland Paris. We considered these to be factors which would hold a strong appeal amongst children. We noted that in each family scenario, the children were offered a trip to Morrisons in an attempt cheer them up and that in each instance the children’s mood was shown to improve at the prospect of visiting Morrisons. We also noted that in the supermarket scene, the child was shown to hurriedly take the cards from an adult in excitement and eagerly open the packet. We noted that upon discovering a winning card the child’s face was illuminated in gold and the child was shown to be overjoyed at having won. We also noted that the final scene featured a child waking up an adult early in the morning to go to Morrisons. In that context, we considered that the ad depicted the opportunity to collect Disney cards and to win a trip to Disneyland Paris as something that would be highly desirable to children.

We were therefore concerned that the ad could encourage children to ask their parents or guardians to visit Morrisons in order to obtain the Disney cards and the chance to win a holiday to Disneyland Paris. On that basis, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.

Read the entire ruling here.

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