The Advertising Standards Authority made its ruling after receiving a complaint about a video on demand film trailer for the horror film Carriers that played on catch up service the ITV Player.
Video on demand ads are becoming more important for brands, for instance, Reckitt Benckiser has just stated that it will invest in the region of £4.3m in the medium this year. The issue of placement and delivery of online ads is likely to become a bigger issue as more brands use the medium.
The ad for Carriers, a 15 rated film, played both as a pre- and post-roll spot for The X Factor final on the player. The voiceover described life after a virus outbreak and featured survivors wearing masks and carrying weapons alongside images of body bags.
The complainant said that the ad was frightening and inappropriate for display during a family programme as I had distressed his children.
Paramount said that there were no plans to repeat the ad. The film distributor said that it purchased the ad space in good faith and on the understanding g that it would be appropriately placed. It claimed ITV had given a post 9 pm scheduling restriction and had assumed that the VOD ad would be similarly restricted.
The broadcaster said that a “subjective judgment” had been made concerning the ad’s availability those viewing The X Factor on the ITV player. It added that ITV was mindful of its social responsibilities and “took its duty in that regard extremely seriously.”
However, the ASA decided the ad had caused “undue fear and distress” and that adequate steps had not been taken to make sure the ad was appropriately targeted on VOD.