Citroen ad banned for risk to epileptics

A Citroen TV ad has been banned for putting epilepsy sufferers at risk by using flashing images.

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Viewers complained that the ad, created by Euro RSCG, had induced symptoms associated with photo-sensitive epilepsy, including a seizure.

The TV ad model featured the word ‘YES’ flashing on an orange background at an increasing rate until a regular pattern formed of more than 300 ‘yes’ words alternated in black and white on the screen. One larger ‘yes’ then appeared and flashed a number of times.

Citroen says that the ad was cleared by Clearcast and had passed the Harding Flash and Pattern Analyser test.

The ASA consulted Ofcom for further analysis of the ad, which found it partially in breach of its Flashing Images Guidance.

The small ‘yes’ words breached all three of the conditions on brightness contrast, number of changes in one second, and more than 25% of the screen changing in brightness. The larger ‘yes’ word on its own did not constitute a breach of the guidelines.

Ofcom added that using the automated Harding test did not guarantee compliance with the guidelines.

The ad has been banned because a number of viewers experienced symptoms of epilepsy or seizure following viewing.

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