Broadcasters to vet when HSA ads are aired

Healthcare cash plan provider HSA’s latest advertising campaign, featuring a white rabbit which survives a stint in a tumble dryer, has prompted at least 66 complaints to the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

Many of the complainants fear that children, not realising that the talking rabbit – HSA’s new advertising icon – is only a toy, may try to copy the ad by placing a real bunny in a tumble dryer.

The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre has advised broadcasters that the ad should not be shown around children’s programmes or programmes that appeal to children.

The ITC is in the process of deciding whether any further action needs to be taken.

A spokeswoman for the ITC points out that the viewing patterns of children can change during a holiday period and that the HSA ad broke on December 27.

The ad, created by McCann-Erickson Bristol, forms part of a new through-the-line campaign for HSA that is designed to test the value of interactive TV as a response mechanism.

The ads ran on Carlton, LWT, Meridian and Anglia as well as satellite and cable channels. The ads featured a phone number and website address. Interactive ads, which allow viewers to access a dedicated advertising location on Sky Active where they can order a pack or request a call-back, are due to break on January 22.

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