Two ads for the radio station, Radio X:
a. A TV ad for the radio station Radio X, broadcast between September and October 2015, featured the DJ Chris Moyles walking down a street. He was shown bumping into a number of people, including a man holding a coffee, a character in a costume and a paramedic pushing someone on a stretcher, and he knocked a cake out of a woman’s hand. He then walked through a wall of the Radio X studio building.
b. A Video On Demand (VOD) ad seen on ITV Player on 13 and 21 October 2015 was the same as ad (a)
1. Eighty-seven viewers challenged whether ad (a) was offensive and irresponsible because they believed it encouraged and condoned anti-social and violent behaviour.
2. Some viewers challenged whether ad (a) was inappropriately scheduled for broadcast at times when children may be watching.
3. Two viewers challenged whether ad (b) was offensive and irresponsible for the same reason as point 1.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
1. & 3. Not upheld
The ASA understood the complainants’ concerns about the behaviour shown in the ad and we acknowledged Global’s intention to parody what they believed to be a well-recognised and iconic music video. Although we noted the ad used Bittersweet Symphony as its soundtrack, we considered that some viewers were still unlikely to recognise the parody element of the ad.
We considered the context in which the behaviour was shown and noted the eclectic mixture of people that Chris Moyles walked past in such a short amount of time (a business man, a charity collector, a woman holding a wedding cake and a paramedic) together with the end shot in which he was shown walking through a brick wall. While recognisable as an ordinary street, we considered the scenario in which he found himself was likely to be seen as surreal and far removed from the mix of people many were likely to encounter when walking down a street. We acknowledged that his actions in the ad were likely to be seen as unpleasant, but we considered that the context in which it was shown meant viewers were unlikely to interpret it as realistic and as an acceptable way to behave. In the particular circumstances of the ad, we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to encourage or condone anti-social behaviour or bullying.
2. Not upheld
We understood the complainants’ concerns that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and noted that the ad was subject to a scheduling restriction that prevented it from being shown around and during programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16. We considered younger children were more likely to emulate the behaviour shown; however, we understood the scheduling restriction meant there was a reduced likelihood of those children seeing the ad. We considered older children were likely to recognise that the ad presented undesirable behaviour, but they were also likely to understand the fantastical nature of the ad shown through the varied mix of the people shown in the ad and the end shot of Chris Moyles emerging unscathed from the brick wall. We considered that the scheduling restriction applied was appropriate for the content and therefore, we concluded the ad had not been scheduled inappropriately.