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Morrisons censored for ad targeting children

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints regarding a misleading TV advertisement by supermarket Morrisons, it was confirmed today.

Viewers complained about the ad, viewed on July 17th 2011, claiming that it was irresponsible as it encouraged children to ask their parents to take them to the grocer in order to buy Walt Disney cards for the chance to win a holiday to Disneyland Paris.

The ad showed several unhappy children, before depicting a child in a Morrisons store feverishly opening a packet of Walt Disney cards. The child’s face was illuminated in gold when he discovered a gold card.

It was claimed that the ad was targeted at children and that this breached the CAP code which disallows advertising to try and prompt children to ask their parents to make purchases on their behalf.

Morrisons responded to the complaints, pointing out that the ad was clearly targeted at parents as it was on during the day at a time when children would be at school. It also said that the ad showed the parents asking their children if they would like to go to Morrisons to do the weekly shop and did not encourage children to ask their parents to be taken to the store.

Clearcast, the advertising services firm, agreed with the grocer, stating that the children in the ad were passive, not pestering their parents to take them shopping nor exhorting them to buy any products or services.

The ASA however, ruled that the ad breached the code, voicing concern that the film could indeed encourage children to ask their parents or guardians to visit Morrisons in order to obtain the cards.

“The ASA noted that the ad appeared on several children’s television channels and would therefore have been seen by children,” the authority commented.

“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 concluded that the ad breached the Code.”

Published on Wednesday 26 October by Editorial Assistant

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