JULY 2000
         Not for use before 00.01 hours
         on Wednesday 30 August 2000




How Television Advertising

is Controlled

The ITC is the statutory body created by the Broadcasting Act 1990
to licence and regulate commercial television in the UK. It remit
extends to all commercially funded television services broadcasting
from the UK, including satellite and cable services. The Act requires
the ITC to draw up and enforce a code on advertising standards and
practice. The ITC also has a duty under the Control of Misleading
Advertisements Regulations 1988 to consider complaints about
misleading television advertisements.

The ITC set standards for television advertising through its Code of
Advertising Standards and Practice. This is adopted and reviewed
after wide public consultation. The ITC also consults regularly with
the Government and has a duty to carry out any government
directions about categories of products and services which may or
may not be advertised. In addition, the ITC receives regular advice
on advertising standards from an external advisory committee
comprising representatives of both consumer and advertising

The ITC enforces compliance through a combination of prevetting
requirements and direct intervention. It requires the television
companies it licenses to employ trained staff to check advertising
carefully before accepting it for transmission. In particular they are
required to satisfy themselves that any claims are accurate and,
where appropriate, to inspect documentary evidence or seek the
advice of independent consultants. The majority of television
advertising is vetted by a central body called the Broadcast
Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) who act on behalf of a
number of ITC licensees collectively, including ITV, GMTV,
Channel 4, Channel 5, BSkyB and UK Gold. In practice, most
television advertising is submitted initially in script form and
clearance for film production is given only when the BACC, or the
individual company, is satisfied that there will be no breach of the
rules. Where there is doubt about interpretation of the rules the
television companies are encouraged to seek guidance from the ITC.
These procedures, which are more searching than those applicable to
any other advertising medium, ensure that the vast majority of
advertisements which appear on television do not breach the rules.
The ITC does, however, monitor the finished output closely and
where necessary intervenes to require non-complying advertising to
be withdrawn. A decision by ITC to suspend or discontinue an
advertisement has mandatory and immediate effect and there are
severe sanctions for non-compliance.

The ITC considers all complaints which it receives about advertising
and, where an investigation is necessary, requires the television
companies to submit background material to it promptly so that an
assessment may be made with a minimum of delay.                  All
complainants receive a personal reply to their complaint.

       1   Complaints of Substance

      14   Summary of Other Complaints

      22   Analysis

of Substance

The following complaints appear to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of
the Code of Advertising Standards and Practice.

             MISLEADING      DAILY MAIL
                             Advertising agency: FCB Ltd

         COMPLAINTS FROM     2 viewers

     NATURE OF COMPLAINT     Advertising for a promotion stated that the Mail on Sunday and the Daily
                             Mail were "issuing Lucky Money Cheques to every reader" and that "There's
                             thousands of winning cheques every single week .... and everyone is
                             guaranteed a bonus prize". Visuals showed a cheque being written out for
                             £55,000, followed by a shot of a promotional wallet being opened to reveal a
                             dummy cheque for the same amount. At several points readers were heard
                             exclaiming: "The cheque was in the Mail!". The advertisement ended with a
                             shot of an edition of the Daily Mail carrying the headline: "What's your
                             cheque worth?". Superimposed text during the commercial stated "No
                             purchase necessary. Cheques from Mail offices. Prizes revealed over 7 days".

                             One complainant felt that the advertisement was misleading as it implied that
                             the reader would "win" the amount printed on the dummy cheque inside the
                             promotional wallet when this was not in fact the case. The other complainant
                             believed that the advertisement was misleading because it implied that it was
                             only necessary to buy one paper to win a prize, whereas in fact it was
                             necessary to buy a number of copies, over the course of a week, to match
                             winning numbers.

              ASSESSMENT     The ITC found that the Lucky Money Cheque promotion consisted of two
                             parts. Inside each wallet was a dummy cheque made out for a cash value. On
                             the cheque were a series of Play Code numbers. If a reader was able to match
                             all the numbers in their wallet with the same Play Code numbers appearing in
                             the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday that day or over the following week, they
                             would win a real cheque for the same value. Each wallet also entitled the
                             reader to a non-cash bonus prize (e.g. hotel accommodation discount
                             vouchers). To find out what had been won, readers again had to match
                             numbers in the wallets with those appearing in that day's paper or in the
                             editions published over the course of the following week. The BACC and the
                             advertiser believed that the basic nature of the promotion and the benefits
                             readers could receive if they participated had been clearly communicated in
                             the advertisement.

                             The ITC judged that the mechanics of the promotion and the nature and
                             extent of possible benefits had been ambiguous. It believed that viewers were
                             likely to have assumed that in the promotional wallets they would receive a
                             dummy cheque that was worth something in money terms, even if not very
                             much, together with some form of other bonus prize. The repeated references
                             to cheques being "in" the Mail, the reference to "bonus prizes" and in
                             particular the inclusion of the mocked up newspaper headline: "What's your
                      cheque worth?" were likely to have reinforced this impression. The reference
                      to "thousands of winning cheques every single week" had not been sufficient
                      to alert viewers to the fact that not all cheques would entitle them to some sort
                      of cash prize. Furthermore viewers might well have assumed that any
                      element of chance in the cheque/cash part of the promotion related to the
                      amount that had been "won" not as to whether the cheque had any value at all.
                      It also believed that viewers could reasonably have assumed from the
                      commercial that the value of the dummy cheques would be clear either from
                      the Lucky Money Cheque wallet or from that day's paper. The reference to
                      "Prizes revealed over 7 days", did not resolve the lack of clarity on this point.

                      The ITC therefore agreed with complainants that the advertising had been
                      misleading. The advertisement was for a short-term promotion and ceased
                      during the investigation.

           DECISION   Complaints upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners

   COMPLAINTS FROM    2 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   Two viewers objected that a commercial for the car racing video game "F1
                      2000" appeared to be advertising the Playstation version of the game, but
                      actually featured footage from the PC version. As the high resolution graphics
                      of the PC version were greatly superior to the Playstation graphics, the
                      complainants felt the advertising was misleading.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertiser accepted that the commercial featured footage from the PC
                      version of "F1 2000", whilst ending with a Playstation packshot, and a
                      Playstation (as well as a PC) logo. They agreed that this could have been
                      misleading and apologised for any confusion caused. They had initially been
                      alerted to the problem by a user of the game, but by that time the campaign
                      had finished. The ITC judged that the advertising was misleading and
                      required that it should not be shown again in its current form.

           DECISION   Complaints upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Ogilvy

    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   The complainant felt this advertisement was misleading because the price
                      quoted for the IMB Thinkpad was without VAT.

        ASSESSMENT    According to the DTI Code of Practice for Traders on Price Indications,
                      section 2.2.7, prices indicated may be exclusive of VAT as long as most of
                      the business is with trade customers. If business is also carried out with
                      private consumers it must be made clear that the prices quoted exclude VAT
                      and the VAT-inclusive prices must be displayed with equal prominence.
                      Alternatively, there should be prominent statements that on top of the quoted
                      price customers will also have to pay VAT (at whatever the current rate).
                      The price for the Thinkpad was quoted as "starting from £899 ex VAT" in
                      vision and "from £899" in audio. There was a "legals" caption including,
                      "Non-business users add VAT @ 17.5%." The ITC judged that this caption
                      was not prominent enough since the advertisement was scheduled on
                      consumer television channels, which would be watched by private viewers
                      more than by business consumers. It required the advertisement to be
                      amended before being shown again.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld.


   COMPLAINTS FROM    2 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   During promotions running on ITV prior to the Euro 2000 football
                      competition, well-known football personalities stated: "...from the first match
                      on June England's opening game against and
                      exclusive on ITV...". Two viewers objected to this claim, one saying that
                      many matches were also shown live on Eurosport, and the other that the
                      England vs. Portugal match was shown live on Eurosport.

        ASSESSMENT    The ITC found that many Euro 2000 matches were indeed shown live on
                      British Eurosport, a version of the Eurosport channel aimed at viewers in the
                      UK. ITV, through the Network Promotions Unit, explained that the claim was
                      intended to refer to the "whole Euro 2000 package" rather than to any specific
                      matches, and that the promotions had been made prior to other broadcasters
                      publishing their Euro 2000 schedules. The ITC considered that viewers would
                      understand from the promotion that either the England vs. Portugal match, or
                      all the matches, would be shown live only on ITV, and advised that care
                      should be taken by broadcasters when using absolute claims such as "live and
                      exclusive". As this was not the case, it judged that the promotions had been

           DECISION   Complaints upheld.


   COMPLAINTS FROM    14 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   Promotions running on ITV indicated that ITV2 was available on digital
                      television through an aerial, or through various cable services including NTL.
                      The viewers, who were subscribers to NTL, claimed that ITV2 was not
                      available to them, and that the NTL customer service operators were unable to
                      say when it would be possible to receive it.

        ASSESSMENT    ITV2 explained to the ITC that until recently the promotions had indicated by
                      means of logos at the top of the screen that the channel was available on
                      Cable & Wireless, Telewest, Eurobell and Cable London. However, in May,
                      NTL took over Cable & Wireless's cable television operations. It then
                      informed ITV2 that all mention of Cable & Wireless was to cease, and that
                      the NTL logo should be used instead. ITV2 therefore amended its promotions
                      accordingly. The ITC accepted that ITV2 had acted in good faith, but noted
                      that ITV2 was, at the time of the complaints, not available to any of NTL's
                      existing subscribers, only to those who had previously subscribed to Cable &
                      Wireless. The ITC judged that the promotion had been misleading by
                      implying that ITV2 was available to all NTL subscribers, and instructed that
                      any future promotions made clear any limitations on viewers' ability to
                      receive the channel.

           DECISION   Complaints upheld.


    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   A viewer reported seeing an advertisement on Teletext offering holidays in
                      six Cornwall holiday parks at £105 per week. There was no indication that
                      the price was a minimum or variable. On calling to book, the viewer was told
                      that there were no holidays for £105 available at any of the six parks but that
                      one could be found for £265.

                      He complained that the advertising was misleading.

        ASSESSMENT    John Fowler Holidays advised Teletext that the original advertisement should
                      have included a statement that pricing only started from £105, rather than
                      implying that all holidays were available at that price.

                      The ITC judged that, without an indication that the price quoted was a
                      minimum price, the advertising had been misleading.

                      The advertising ceased during the course of the investigation.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Leo Burnett

   COMPLAINTS FROM    5 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   5 viewers complained that advertising for McDonalds McTriple with Cheese
                      showed the McTriple with Cheese sandwich alongside Twisty Fries for £1.59.
                      They considered the advertising misleading because the price applied only to
                      the sandwich and excluded the fries.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertiser explained that steps had been taken to minimise potential
                      confusion. The price information appeared on screen only over the shot of
                      the McTriple sandwich and was removed before any reference to Twisty Fries
                      was made. The references to Twisty Fries were included purely as a serving

                      The ITC noted from the advertisement that both the McTriple sandwich and
                      Twisty Fries could be seen on screen while the price was displayed.
                      Potential for confusion was compounded by a voiceover that invited viewers
                      to try the McTriple with Twisty Fries. It agreed with the viewers that the
                      advertising had been misleading. The advertising finished its run during the
                      course of the investigation.

           DECISION   Complaints upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Gut Records Limited

    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   The advertisement included a four-second extract of the Peppermint Jam mix
                      of the track Sex Bomb.

                      The complainant objected that this was misleading, as the version of Sex
                      Bomb included on the album was in fact an earlier one, not the Peppermint
                      Jam mix.

        ASSESSMENT    The record company explained that the Peppermint Jam mix had featured in
                      the advertising because, being a more recent version, it would be the one
                      more familiar to viewers. They considered that there was very little
                      difference between the two versions and denied that there had been any
                      intention to mislead viewers.

                      The ITC judged that it was misleading for a television advertisement to
                      feature a different version of a track from the one that was included on the
                      album being advertised, regardless of how similar the two versions were.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld. The television companies removed the advertising from
                      transmission as soon as they were made aware of the problem.


    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   A viewer complained that advertising for this premium rate telephone service
                      was misleading because the service was no longer available.

        ASSESSMENT    Teletext confirmed that the premium bond number checkline had ceased to
                      operate during February 2000 and that they had removed the advertising for
                      the service at that time. They were unable to explain why the advertising had
                      reappeared on air during June 2000, nor could they provide details of the
                      precise length of time for which it remained on air, although their
                      investigations suggested it was only for a day or two at most. As soon as they
                      were alerted to the presence of the advertising by the ITC, it was removed.

                      The ITC agreed with the viewer that it had been misleading to advertise a
                      service that was no longer available.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld.


    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   A viewer complained that she had purchased a diamond ring from QVC's text
                      service where it was described as being set with diamonds with a total weight
                      of .36 carat. When she received the ring and queried its value with a jeweller,
                      she discovered that the carat weight was not .36. She complained that the
                      advertising was misleading.

        ASSESSMENT    QVC confirmed that a typographical error when creating the text page had
                      resulted in the ring being described as .36 carat rather than .036. They stated
                      that this was a genuine error and reported that they had arranged to make up
                      an alternative ring to the number of carats originally advertised as a goodwill

                      The ITC agreed that the advertising had been misleading.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld.


    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   Advertising listed fares to a number of destinations in the United States for
                      the period 1 April to 30 June. Also included on the page was the statement
                      "no easter supplements".

                      A viewer who called for a quote complained that he was quoted a higher price
                      for a flight over Easter than for a flight during May. He complained that it
                      appeared that Travel Bug was applying an Easter supplement, and that the
                      advertising was misleading.

        ASSESSMENT    Teletext forwarded the advertiser's explanation of the term "no easter
                      supplements". They stated it meant "that the fares shown are not any more
                      expensive should the traveller wish to travel over the Easter period." They
                      advised that the fares they had quoted were for a special seat sale offered by
                      Northwest Airlines and that most likely reason that the caller was quoted a
                      higher price for Easter travel was that the flights for the destination he wished
                      to travel to, on the dates he wanted to travel, were full. He would therefore
                      have been quoted a price with a different airline that would probably have
                      been more expensive. Teletext remarked that simply because May prices
                      were cheaper than those quoted for Easter, it did not necessarily indicate that
                      a supplement had been charged as prices fluctuate in the holiday industry.

                      The ITC acknowledged the explanation given by the advertiser and accepted
                      that this in itself did not invalidate the claim "no easter supplements". The
                      ITC was however concerned that the advertisement made no reference to the
                      variable nature of the flight prices, by indicating that those quoted were
                      minimum prices for the period referred to.

                      It agreed that the advertising had been misleading.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Bates Dorland

   COMPLAINTS FROM    112 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   The commercial showed a shabbily dressed man entering a corner shop/off
                      licence and asking for "a bottle of the usual". The assistant handed over a
                      brown paper bag. As the man left shop he opened the bag to reveal a bottle of
                      Heinz Salad Cream. He was then seen walking towards a dustbin, as a voice
                      over stated: "Any food tastes supreme with Heinz Salad Cream".

                      The complainants interpreted the commercial as portraying a homeless person
                      or alcoholic buying Heinz Salad Cream in order to make a meal of rubbish
                      more palatable. They found the advertisement to be in extremely bad taste and
                      in particular, offensive and degrading to the homeless. They felt that the
                      advertisement exploited, trivialised and made a joke out of the serious issues
                      of homelessness, poverty and alcoholism. Some said that it reinforced a
                      stereotypical view that homeless people were drunks and habitually ate from
                      dustbins. The total included three complainants who work with the homeless
                      and two who used to live on the streets themselves.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertiser apologised for any offence caused. It stated that the
                      advertisement (which was part of a series aimed at relaunching Heinz Salad
                      Cream) was intended to be quirky and humorous, in keeping with the market
                      positioning and brand personality of the product. They had carried out
                      research on the advertising prior to broadcast to get a clear view from a wide
                      spectrum of people as to the appropriateness of the theme and content of the
                      commercial. The research group had found the advertisement humorous and

                      The ITC noted the strong dislike of the commercial expressed by the
                      complainants in spite of the market research carried out by the advertiser. It
                      judged, however, that although some sections of the audience might find the
                      material to be in very poor taste, the advertisement was not unacceptable for
                      broadcast. It therefore did not uphold the complaints made.

           DECISION   Complaints not upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Leith Agency

   COMPLAINTS FROM    4 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   An Irn Bru commercial, apparently set in the 1950s, showed a mother playing
                      the piano with her husband and two children gathered round. They were all
                      singing about their happy life together until the mother sang "Even though I
                      used to be a man". At this, the singing petered out and the rest of the family
                      looked embarrassed. The commercial ended with a shot of the mother in the
                      bathroom cheerfully shaving her lathered chin.

                      The complainants objected that the advertising mocked transsexual women or
                      those with a hormonal imbalance. One reported that she ran a support group
                      for women with such an imbalance and that those she worked with found the
                      advertisement extremely insensitive. Another, herself a transsexual, found
                      the commercial distressing and reported that a man had sung the words at her
                      contemptuously. Two of the complainants argued that advertising which
                      made fun of other groups or of physical characteristics would not be allowed
                      and felt that the same standards should apply in this case.

        ASSESSMENT    Whilst acknowledging the serious concerns raised, the ITC judged that the
                      tone of the commercial was relatively light-hearted. It did not consider that
                      most of the small number of viewers who might see their own situation
                      reflected in the advertising would find it seriously offensive. While the ITC
                      regretted the distress caused, it concluded that there were not sufficient
                      grounds to ban the commercial.

           DECISION   Complaints not upheld.

                      Advertising agency: La Base Films

   COMPLAINTS FROM    109 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   Advertising for this price comparison website showed the rear view of a man
                      in a urinal apparently surreptitiously comparing the size of his penis to the
                      man next to him. Voice over stated "comparing is natural...."

                      Viewers complained that the content and setting of the commercial was
                      offensive, vulgar and irrelevant to the product advertised.

        ASSESSMENT    The ITC noted that the commercial had been approved for transmission by the
                      BACC with a timing restriction that meant it could only be shown after

                      Although the ITC recognised that the content would not be to all viewers'
                      tastes, it did not judge it to be inappropriate for the time shown.

           DECISION   Complaints not upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Ltd

   COMPLAINTS FROM    25 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   Advertising for this digital music player featured a speeded-up sequence of a
                      teenager being rushed to hospital and into Intensive Care for an emergency
                      resuscitation attempt. The emergency team were shown preparing what at
                      first appeared to be equipment for cardiac shock treatment but was, in fact,
                      the music player. They touched the earpieces together (as if to check there
                      was a current flowing through the contacts of a resuscitation unit) then placed
                      them in his ears and played a blast of music. His body convulsed as if it had
                      received an electric shock but his eyes were still glazed. The team loaded a
                      different music file into the machine and "shocked" him again. This time he
                      sat up as if resuscitated.

                      Most of the complainants objected that this commercial would be distressing
                      to the recently bereaved, especially those who had lost a son or daughter. 10
                      reported a close personal experience of this kind and said that they had found
                      the campaign to be an upsetting reminder.
        ASSESSMENT    The agency argued that the slightly surreal style of the film was unlike real
                      hospitals or even TV hospital dramas such as ER. It thought the elements of
                      humour also helped to make clear that the action was not real. This, it felt,
                      would have reduced viewers' tension about the situation. It also reported
                      anecdotal evidence of the commercial being enjoyed. Nevertheless it told the
                      ITC that it had never been the intention to offend and that they sincerely
                      regretted the distress to families which have been through experiences of this

                      The ITC did not believe that viewers would think the commercial featured
                      real footage and also accepted that many viewers in the target audience might
                      have enjoyed it. However, the issue for the ITC was not whether the footage
                      was realistic but whether it was significantly distressing to those who had
                      recently lost relatives or friends in circumstances which this advertising
                      conjured up. The ITC concluded that the scenes of mock resuscitation and
                      the close up shots of the "dead" boy's face were likely to be powerful
                      reminders of tragedy for significant numbers of viewers. It judged that the
                      use of humour might well have added to those viewers' feelings that the
                      commercial was insensitive. The ITC concluded that the advertising had been
                      unacceptably offensive to some viewers. It was suspended.

                      In November 1996, the ITC upheld complaints about Texaco advertising
                      which used comparable techniques (see the Advertising Complaints Report
                      for November 1996). It showed doctors trying to resuscitate what turned out
                      to be a car engine. In that case, the ITC warned against advertising which
                      was "likely to act as repeated reminders of distressing personal circumstances
                      to...large numbers of viewers".

           DECISION   Complaints upheld.

                      Advertising agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

   COMPLAINTS FROM    33 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   The commercial, for the internet arm of a job recruitment agency, showed a
                      busy street scene. A man was seen striding through the crowd and
                      deliberately bumping into another man walking in the opposite direction. The
                      second man checked his wallet, fearing he may have had his pocket picked.
                      He was relieved to find his wallet still there and found that an envelope had
                      been inserted with his name written on it. The envelope contained a slip of
                      paper, with: "Office manager. £30,000 plus benefits" and a contact number
                      printed on it. The commercial then flashed back in time to show in slow
                      motion what had happened when the two men collided, namely the first man
                      rapidly removing the wallet, placing the envelope inside and then returning it
                      to the other man's pocket. The voice over stated: "Why look for a job, when
                      the job can look for you". The first man was seen smiling back through the
                      crowd, having successfully alerted the other man to a job opportunity.

                      The complainants felt that the advertisement was racist and would reinforce
                      stereotypical assumptions because the first man, who initially appeared to be
                      a pickpocket, was black. They believed that, although the real outcome of the
                      incident was made clear by the end of the commercial, the advertisement still
                      presented a stereotypical portrayal of black people as potential criminals and
                      white people as the victims of crime.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertiser stated that its intention when choosing actors had been to
                      reflect the diversity of backgrounds of its workforce. It believed that viewers,
                      after seeing the whole commercial, would have seen the 'Job Sleuth'
                      consultant delivering the job notification as a guardian angel character or
                      'good guy'.

                      The ITC judged that, taken as a whole, the advertisement did not contribute to
                      a negative stereotype of black people. It noted that any initial confusion or
                      stereotypical assumptions resulting from the first part of the commercial
                      would have been fully resolved by the end, when it became clear that the first
                      man had in reality been using an unusual method to help tell the second man
                      about a job opportunity. The ITC therefore did not uphold the complaints.

           DECISION   Complaints not upheld.


    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   The complainant objected to the transmission of an advertisement for the 18
                      rated film "Bride of Chucky" on the childrens channel Cartoon Network.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertisement was for Front Row, the film channel carried on cable. It
                      referred to a number of films that were available through Front Row,
                      including a brief reference to Bride of Chucky. Cable and Wireless had
                      inserted this advertisement into their Bournemouth cable licence area on 20
                      April at around 08.30.

                      Cable and Wireless explained that the advertisement had been supplied by
                      Front Row who had labelled it as acceptable for universal viewing. Cable and
                      Wireless were aware that advertising for 18 rated films is not acceptable on
                      children's channels and they had taken steps to prevent other references to this
                      film on Cartoon Network. However, the brief reference in this generic
                      advertisement had gone unnoticed. Since this error Cable and Wireless have
                      been taken over by NTL and the latter company assured the ITC that they
                      were aware that they were directly responsible for ensuring the acceptability
                      of material for transmission, whatever rating a third party may have given to
                      it. They were in discussions with Front Row to ensure that there would be no

           DECISION   Complaint upheld. No further regulatory action was indicated.


   COMPLAINTS FROM    2 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   Two viewers, from the Central and Carlton areas, objected to the showing of
                      an advertisement for on the 23 and 29 May in the morning
                      between 10:00 and 12:00, on the grounds that its violent content was
                      inappropriate at times when children might be watching.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertisement showed a woman take a sub-machine gun from her
                      handbag and shoot her car. There were four advertisements for this company
                      and the BACC had applied a post 19:30 timing restriction to this version.
                      Carlton sales, who were responsible for scheduling this advertising in both
                      regions, explained that through human error the correct timing restriction had
                      not been applied on this occasion. They apologised for any distress caused.

           DECISION   Complaints upheld. The ITC were concerned that the timing restriction had
                      been missed but judged that no regulatory action was justified in the absence
                      of any evidence that this was other than an isolated error.

         HARMFUL      TYPHOO TEA
                      Advertising agency: Mother

   COMPLAINTS FROM    94 viewers

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   This series of commercials focussed on a fictional tea plantation owner,
                      Tommy Singh, extolling the freshness of the tea grown on his plantation. His
                      catch-phrase, used at the end of each commercial and with appropriate actions
                      was "Two Thumbs Fresh". Throughout the commercials, grinning employees
                      were shown going about their work or surrounding the spokesman.

                      Complainants objected that the advertising portrayed the Asian plantation
                      workers as simpletons and that it reinforced negative racial stereotypes.
                      Others objected that the advertising had the out-dated feel of programmes
                      such as Love Thy Neighbour and It Ain't Half Hot, Mum. The underlying
                      theme of the complaints was that the commercials were racist.

        ASSESSMENT    The advertising agency provided results of research and consultation carried
                      out with members of the Asian community and with Goodness Gracious Me
                      scriptwriter, Meera Syal. All of these sources reported that they found both
                      the commercials, and the character Tommy Singh, funny rather than

                      Although the ITC appreciated the depth of feeling expressed by the
                      complainants it did not believe that the commercial would have the
                      detrimental affect that some viewers feared. The humour in the commercial
                      parodied self-made businessmen and salesman, as opposed to utilising the
                      hackneyed stereotypes of those sit-coms referred to. Whilst the ITC therefore
                      concluded that the complaints should not be upheld, it recognised that the
                      commercial illustrated the fine line that can exist between humour and

           DECISION   Complaints not upheld.

                      Advertising agency: The Picture House

    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   A viewer complained that he had been featured without his permission in an
                      advertisement. Advertising by North Down Borough Council for the Easter
                      festivities in Bangor, County Down, contained brief clips of some of the
                      attractions that visitors to the festivities could expect, including one shot of a
                      falconer with a European eagle owl. The viewer said that he was the falconer,
                      but that he had given up the business some years ago when his wife fell ill.
                      He told the ITC that since the showing of the commercial he had been
                      pestered by people who thought he was back in the trade. He objected to this
                      because that part of his life was now in the past.

        ASSESSMENT    TSMS, the advertising sales house acting on behalf of UTV, told the ITC that
                      the production company that had put the advertisement together had used a
                      number of archive clips. In relation to the clip in question, it assured TSMS
                      that the falconer had in 1995 given permission for the clip to be used, and had
                      no reason to believe that this was not still valid. The ITC noted that people's
                      circumstances can change significantly over a period of years, and that it
                      should not be assumed that permission given for the use of a film clip by a
                      person featured in it would still be valid some years later. TSMS agreed,
                      saying that they had now advised the production facility that specific written
                      permission should always be sought for the use of shots featuring members of
                      the public. The ITC found in favour of the complainant and judged that the
                      advertising was in breach of Rule 15 of the Code of Advertising Standards
                      and Practice (Protection of Privacy and Exploitation of the Individual). The
                      advertisement should not appear again in its current form.

           DECISION   Complaint upheld.


    COMPLAINT FROM    1 viewer

NATURE OF COMPLAINT   An advertisement for Cornhill Insurance featured two presenters in a setting
                      resembling a news programme announcing the advertising offer in the style of
                      a news report. A viewer queried whether the similarity between the style of
                      the advertisement and Meridian's lunchtime news programme, during which it
                      was shown, was in breach of ITC rules.

        ASSESSMENT    The BACC explained that they had applied to this advertisement no timing
                      restriction or advice on content for the information of broadcasters because
                      they believed the setting was sufficiently well branded with the advertiser's
                      name for there to be no confusion in viewers' minds about what they were
                      seeing. They pointed out that the complainant had not been confused. The
                      ITC regretted that the BACC had apparently not taken account of the final
                      part of the relevant rule (5(b) of the ITC Code of Advertising Standards and
                      Practice) which requires that where an advertisement imitates or parodies a
                      programme it may not appear in the breaks in or adjacent to that programme.
                      They reminded the BACC that the issue was not primarily whether viewers
                      might be confused about whether they were watching a programme or an

                  advertisement but to protect the editorial integrity of programmes. To that
                  end, strict limits were placed on the manner in which programme properties
                  could be utilised by advertisers. The importance of this strand of ITC policy,
                  especially in relation to news, was well known and publicised. This same
                  issue in relation to this part of Rule 5(b) had been clearly spelled out in the
                  ITC Advertising Complaints Report for April 2000 (see entry under
                  Miscellaneous: Separation of Advertisements on page 6. See also ITC
                  advertising complaints for October 1999, Miscellaneous Separation of
                  Advertisements, on page 6).

                  TSMS, the sales house responsible for scheduling this advertisement on
                  Meridian, had taken immediate steps on their own initiative to avoid
                  scheduling this advertisement adjacent to any further news broadcasts.

       DECISION   Complaint upheld.

                  Advertising agency: Bruce Dunlop & Associates

                  Staff Intervention

    ASSESSMENT    On 10 May at 19.38 during the football coverage, Carlton, Central and
                  Westcountry Television transmitted a commercial for featuring
                  Kevin Keegan who was also interviewed in the same programme. ITC rules
                  do not allow advertisements that feature well known personalities or
                  performers to be scheduled in breaks in or adjacent to programmes in which
                  they also appear.

                  Carlton who sell and schedule advertising for all three broadcasters said that
                  the advertisement had been scheduled in error. The ITC were concerned that
                  this scheduling restriction had been missed but judged that no regulatory
                  action was justified on this occasion.

                Summary of

                Other Complaints

             Advertisements for the products or services listed below attracted
             complaints which after preliminary assessment, did not raise issues of
             substance requiring further investigation.

             These included complaints repeating points already considered and
             covered in previous summaries, as well as isolated expressions of
             personal opinion or experience which did not call into question the
             conformity of the advertisements with the requirements of the ITC
             Code of Advertising Standards and Practice.

             Product or Advertisement                                   Number of
MISLEADING   Textravel – Text                                                    1
             4 U Net                                                              3
             A Quote Car Insurance                                                1
             AA Membership                                                        1
             Ariel Essential                                                      1
             Arnold Clarke Motor Dealers                                          1
             Atlantic Telecom                                                     1
             B&Q                                                                  1
             Bacardi Breezer                                                      1
             Baines & Ernst                                                       1
             Barrett Homes                                                        1
             Blood Doner                                                          1
             British Gas                                                          1
             British Telecom - Internet                                           2
             British Telecom - Second Line                                        1
             British Telecom - Surf Time                                          2
             BT Cellnet - Mobile Internet                                         1
             Cable & Wireless                                                     3
             Cable & Wireless - Digital Awareness                                 1
             Chatback                                                             1

Chatterbox                       1
Churchill Insurance              1
Claims Direct                    4
COI - Environment                4
COI - Learn Direct               3
Comet                            1
Communications 2000              1
Destination Group - Text         1
Dettol Liquid Wash               1
DFS                              1
Diamond Car Insurance            1
Direct Line Motor Insurance      1
Direct Line Rescue               3
Dolphin Bathrooms                1                     3
Fiat Punto                       1
Film - Pokemon First Movie       1
Flight Advertising - Text        1
Ford Fiesta                      1
Ford Focus                       1
Gardening Which? Magazine        1
HFC Bank Marbles                 1
Holiday advertising - Text       1
Holiday Inns - Text              1
Holiday Offers - Text            1
HSBC Lifecare                    1
Iceland                          1
Inland Revenue                   1
ITV2 Promotions                  2
John Fowler Holidays - Text      1
Johnsons Dry cleaning            1
Kelloggs Special K               1
Kitchens Direct                  1
Let's Go Canaries - Text         1                    2
Lincoln Travel - Text            1
Lycos                            1
McDonalds – McFlurry
McDonalds - Quarterpounder 99p   4

National Westminster Bank                 1
National Westminster Bank – Another Way   5
NDC - Milk                                1
NTL - Phone & Cable Lines                 3
ONdigital                                 1
Open - Domino Pizza                       1
Open Interactive TV                       1
Oreck XL Vacum Cleaners                   1
Penalli Pens                              1
Peoples Choice Insurance                  1
PG Tips                                   1
Portfield Finance                         2
QVC Premier Superstar CD                  1
QVC Product                               1
Rangers Direct                            1
Ribena Tooth Kind                         1
Royal Mail                                1
Safestyle UK                              1
Saga Motor Insurance                      1
Sainsburys organics                       2
Scottish Power                            1
Screwfix Direct Catalogue                 1
Senokot                                   1
Shop Product                              1
Siemens Mobile Phone                      1
Tec Tools Titanium Drill Bits             1
Telewest Cable Television                 1
Travel House - Text                       1
TV Travel Shop                            2
Typhoo Tea                                2
Upton Travel - Text                       1
Vodafone - AA Personal Roadwatch          1
Woolwich Open Plan Borrowing              1
Xscape                                    1
Yes Express Car Credit                    1

            Product or Advertisement         Number of
OFFENSIVE   Abbey National                            1
            Batchelors Super Noodles                 6
            BB Soda                                  7
            Blackthorn Cider - Masks                 1
            Boddingtons                              1
            Castlemaine XXXX                        20
            COI - Working Benefits                   1
            Cornetto - Cupid                         1
            Diamond Car Insurance                    2
            Diet Coke                                2
            Doritos - The Big Kiss                   1
            Dr Pepper                                1
            DSS Benefit Fraud                        1
            Fanta                                    1
            Fiat Brava                               1
            Fiat Punto                               3
            Ford Mondeo                              1
            Goldfish Credit Card                     2
            Guinness Extra Cold - twins              1
            Heinz Salad Cream                        1
            Ideal World HS - Product                 1
            Ikea                                     1
            Ikea - Fresh Start                       6
            Imperial Cancer Research                 1
            Irn Bru                                  4
            ITV2 Promotions                          1
            Jeyes Bloo & Bleach                      1
            Kingsmill Tasty Crust                    4
            Lycos                                    1
            Lynx - Ideal Woman                       2
            McDonalds - McFlurry                     1
            McDonalds - Quarterpounder 99p           5
            Miscellaneous                            2
            Muller Lite                              1
            NDC - Milk                               6

          NDC Milk - Bestie                         1
          One 2 One - Roaming/Tripping              1
          Pepsi Max - Cheetah                       1
          Philadelphia Light Cheese                 1
          Physio Sport                              6
          Pledge Dust & Go                          1
          Renault Clio 172                          3
          Seat Ibiza                                1
          Sega Dreamcast                            2
          Sega Dreamcast - French                   1
          Seven Up                                  1
          Shreddies                                 2
          Sony Playstation - Hogs of War            6
          Sony Playstation Software                 3
          Stepwise Nail Product                     6
          Tampax                                    1
          The Dome                                  3
          Vauxhall Astra                            1
          Virgin Direct                             1
          Walkers Max Crisps                        1
          Wall's Magnum                             1
          Walls Carte D'or - Sunday Lunch          12
          Weetabix                                  2

          Product or Advertisement          Number of
HARMFUL   America On Line                            1
          Atlantic Telecom                          1
          Batchelors Super Noodles                  1
          Boddingtons                               2
          British Telecom                           1
          Castlemaine XXXX                          1
          Cheltenham & Gloucester                   1
          Dettol Liquid Wash                        1
          Guinness Extra Cold - twins               3
          Imperial Cancer Research
          Impulse                                   1
                Irn Bru                                    1
                Kellogg's Frosties                         1
                Lynx                                       1
                Malibu                                     1
                Metz                                       1
                National Lottery Thunderball               2
                National Westminster Bank                  1
                NDC - Milk                                12
                Nestle Maxibon                             1
                Nivea                                      1
                Portfield Finance                          2
                Pretty Polly Bras                          1
                RAC                                        1
                RAC/BSM                                    1
                Rangers Direct                             1
                Renault Clio 172                           2
                Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles                  4
                Seat Ibiza                                 1
                Sega Dreamcast - English                   4
                Sega Dreamcast - French                    1
                Shreddies                                  5
                Tango Orange - Megaphone                   1
                Tic Tac                                    1
                Vodafone - AA Personal Roadwatch           2
                Walkers Max Crisps                         1

                Product or Advertisement           Number of
MISCELLANEOUS   AA Membership                               1
                Chatback                                   1
                Churchill Insurance                        1
                COI - Minimum Income Guarantee             1
                Direct Car Finance                         1
                Freeserve                                  1
                Goldfish Credit Card                       1
                Launa Windows                              1
                Lynx - Ideal Woman
                Miscellaneous comments - Text              1
                New Zealand Lamb                           1
Policy Plus Endowments          1
Robinsons Drinks                1
RTE                             1
Sky Holidays - Text             1
The Royal Albert Hotel - Text   1

          There were also complaints of a generic character referring to the following matters :-

                Product or Advertisement                                         Number of
    OFFENSIVE   Gay Chatlines                                                             1
                General                                                                     1
                Sex in advertising                                                          1
                Sexism - Women                                                              1

                Product or Advertisement                                         Number of
     HARMFUL    Alcohol                                                                   1
                Animals                                                                     1

                Product or Advertisement                                         Number of
MISCELLANEOUS   Amount of Advertising                                                     3
                Formula One                                                                 3
                General                                                                     3
                Inappropriate Breaks                                                        1
                Miscellaneous comments                                                      4
                Noise                                                                       4
                Separation of Advertisements                                                2


                                                  COMPLAINTS DETERMINED IN JULY 2000

                             Number of                  Number of                   Number of
                             Complaints             Advertisements        Advertisements about
                                                        referred to      which complaints were
                                                                            upheld wholly or in

   MISLEADING                  164    (15)                  58    (13)                 11      (4)

    OFFENSIVE                  409     (0)                  36     (0)                   1     (0)

     HARMFUL                   199     (0)                  19     (0)                   2     (0)

MISCELLANEOUS                   40     (3)                  10     (3)                   3     (0)

                               812    (18)                 123    (16)                 17      (4)

                                                                          YEAR TO DATE 2000

                             Number of                  Number of                   Number of
                             Complaints             Advertisements        Advertisements about
                                                        referred to      which complaints were
                                                                            upheld wholly or in

   MISLEADING                 1376    (72)                 435    (72)                 56     (15)

    OFFENSIVE                 1364     (0)                 260     (0)                   6     (0)

     HARMFUL                  1055     (0)                 191     (0)                   6     (0)

MISCELLANEOUS                  267    (13)                  76    (13)                 22      (2)

                              4062    (85)                 962    (85)                 90     (17)

                The numbers in brackets indicate Text advertisements. They are extracted from, not
                additional to, the overall numbers.


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