Whoever said that only the United States government likes regulating ads and the media? I just read a news article on how the United Kingdom government has banned an ad by Ladbrokes because of its portrayal of gambling as a reckless pursuit. The Guardian has this story:
The betting company ran two TV ads, described as “pastiches of documentary-style filming”, telling the story of two adrenaline junkies who came to a sticky end after taking one risk too many.
One of the ads featured a fictional eyepatch-wearing character called Willem Snyman, described as a “mentor and oceanic guru”, who talked about the demise of a shark-diving student.
Snyman explained that the student’s headstrong attitude and extreme appetite for risk-taking led him to tie raw bacon and sausages to his wetsuit and dive in shark infested waters in a seal costume.
“All we could bury was his flipper,” explained Snyman.
The other ad was narrated by the fictional J “Snake Eyes” Kowalski, a pilot and skydiving pioneer, talking about the death of his student Ted.
Ted was said to have died after experimenting with smaller and smaller parachutes, until one day he jumped using just an empty 30g potato chip packet.
Both ads ended with the line “If only he’d seen ladbrokescasino.com it would have quenched his thrill buds.”
You know what the messed up thing about this is? Guess how many complaints the agency received regarding the TV campaign? 10? 20? NOPE. A LONESOME SINGLE COMPLAINT. Now I am all for freedom of expression and not offending every single person out there and if a complaint is backed up by a strong number of people, then fine, perhaps a ban should be considered. But ONE complaint? Come on now!