Six viewers contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to complain that they were worried the ad could cause children to copy the ad and end up choking on tennis balls if they put them in their mouths.
The ad showed a man on a tennis court acting as a tennis ball machine and spitting balls over the net, which were hit back by a woman. A voiceover asked: “Working like a machine? Have a break, have a KitKat.”
KitKat brand owner Nestle argued that the man in the ad, created by JWT, was so nerdy and uncool that no one would want copy him, pointing out that he wore out-of-date clothes and was clearly not enjoying himself.
It also pointed out that because of regulations of junk food ads, the commercial would not be shown during periods when more than 50% of the audience was likely to comprise of under 16s.
In the ruling, the ASA said that although very young children were “notorious for instinctively putting inedible items in their mouths” it was unlikely that they would be watching without supervision and cleared the ad for broadcast.