ASA reprimands British Heart Foundation for ‘irresponsible’ ad

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has branded as irresponsible a press ad for the British Heart Foundation showing a woman with a plastic bag over her head, following a barrage of complaints.

The advertisement, created by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, in-cludes the tagline “I’ve got heart failure. And this is what it feels like every morning” beneath a photo-graph of an elderly woman with a clear plastic bag over her head.

The ASA ruled the image could encourage copycat behaviour among children. However, the ASA rejected complaints that the ad was shocking and distressing. It says the approach was justified in the context of raising awareness about heart failure. The ad was run for one week only.

The ASA has also upheld complaints against an Automobile Association (AA) poster and leaflet for its Internet website, AA Buyacar, which misleadingly implies that customers can buy a car from the AA. The ASA says the small-print contradicts the ad’s headline. AA Buyacar is a joint venture between the AA and Inchcape, and the AA acts as an intermediary for buying cars from Inchcape.

Centrica-owned AA has been asked to reword its claim with help from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). It has also been asked to call on CAP’s help in ensuring footnotes on posters are legible.

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