ITC condemns Nike over ‘ghouls’ soccer ad

Complaints that Nike’s controversial “ghouls” football ad featuring Eric Cantona, frightened children have been upheld by the Independent Television Commission.

The ITC was reacting to complaints from parents, frightened that scenes in the good versus evil soccer game scared their children.

The ad, banned from Danish cinemas because it was too grotesque, had to be scaled down for British television audiences when it was launched in May.

The commercial, created by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam and handled by Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson in the UK, features players such as Cantona against a team of monsters.

Most of the 109 objections were from viewers who thought that despite the ad being withdrawn from programmes aimed at younger children, it was appearing at times when children could be watching, especially surrounding Euro 96 football games.

Nearly a third of the complaints claimed that young children, aged between two and four, were frightened and upset by the ad.

Other objections suggested that the ad could encourage football hooliganism, while others thought it used Satanic imagery.

The ITC upheld the complaints about scheduling, because it believed the advertisement could frighten younger children.

The ad was restricted to transmission in general programming after the 9pm watershed, but could run after 7.30pm in or around football coverage when it was deemed children would be unlikely to be watching games alone.

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