ASA censures TBWA over ‘pro-drug’ ads

Two campaigns through TBWA Simons Palmer – one for the News of the World, the other promoting a Sony PlayStation console game – have been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for their references to illegal drug-taking.

The newspaper ad appeared in Maxpower magazine and featured a footballer snorting a white line on a football pitch as if it were cocaine. It read: “If it goes on it goes in.”

The ASA ruled that the ad was irresponsible because it trivialised drug abuse.

A poster and magazine ad for the Sony PlayStation console game was also criticised for its drug messages.

The execution, which prompted 28 complaints, including one from an MP, showed a picture of a snowboarder and a passage with the words “powder I need powder my body aches yells screams for powder”.

Sony argued that this was the language used by snowboarders and reflected the adrenalin rush associated with the sport.

In this month’s report, the ASA also upheld British Gas’ complaints over price comparisons made by Northern Electric and Norweb.

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