Retailer MFI has been rapped by the advertising regulator for depicting violent arguments in its advertising campaign as a normal part of domestic life.
The ads, created by M&C Saatchi, broke this summer and aimed to show families acting out “typical” at-home situations inside MFI.
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an ad showing a woman in a bathroom who notices the toilet seat being left up and shouting at her husband to come into the bathroom and then slapping him on the cheek while shouting “I keep telling you to keep the seat down! I’ll spell it for you to make it easy for you D-O-W-N. Down…” and then she slaps him again.
The camera pulls back to show that the bathroom is in an MFI showroom, with a salesman walking in and saying to the couple: “Ah, I see you have found the soft close toilet seat.” The voiceover says: “When your bathroom’s measure, designed and installed by MFI you’ll feel right at home.”
The ad received 217 complaints and the ASA has ruled that it could be seen to condone intimidation, domestic violence and aggression as a way to resolve issues.
A second execution showing an argument between a teenage girl and her mother, who continues to shout at her while she walks out the room has also received complaints for being offensive, shocking and disturbing. They have been upheld but the ASA says that the campaign is otherwise acceptable for broadcast with an “ex-kids” restriction.
The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) said that when it viewed the ads it decided that their edgy nature required a timing restriction. BACC decided on an “ex-kids” restrictions because it felt that the very young might not understand the idea and could be upset.