ITC reproves BT for head-tilting TV ads

BT has been slammed by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) over an ad for its BT Together telephone call package.

The ad, created by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, shows a man visiting his doctor with his head tilted to one side. The doctor diagnoses “BT Together” and viewers see a waiting room full of men with a similar problem. A number of viewers complained that the symptoms were those of a real condition, spasmodic torticolis (ST). They felt the ad mocked sufferers.

The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Committee (BACC) had been concerned the ad might be seen to be trivialising RSI, but eventually decided it was “inoffensively comic pantomime”. The BACC was unaware of ST.

The ITC ruled that, while there had been no intention to cause distress, sufferers had been offended. The ad was due to end its run at the end of September, and the ITC ruled that it should not be shown again.

BT has contacted the Dystonia Charity, which works with ST sufferers, and offered its help in promoting the charity’s work.

The ITC also upheld 87 complaints over Vodafone’s “flirting” ad (MW September 19), from viewers objecting to the ad’s sexual nature.

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