Big Brother has already stirred up controversy in its first week following a raft of complaints about its “ageist, homophobic and sexist” sponsorship idents to the advertising regulator.
The idents, which primarily promote Virgin Mobile but also support other Virgin Media services, are a series of documentary-style vignettes showing “normal people” using Virgin services for unexpected things.
One execution features an old woman phoning her female lover, which is presented as being humorous; another shows someone using their additional minutes to phone their ex on the hour, which one complainant has said is harassment.
Another complaint says the idents for the morning repeats have been scheduled inappropriately because they talk about kinky foreplay.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority is unable to investigate because sponsorships are out of its remit.
RKCR/Y&R has created more than 80 idents to run throughout the 13-week series of Big Brother on Channel 4.
James Kydd, managing director of marketing and brand, says: “Last year’s ads were either loved or hated and we wanted to cause a stir this year as well. We wanted to make the Big Brother audience laugh but also promote Virgin Media’s services the Virgin way.