ASA to investigate Boots Christmas ad

The advertising watchdog is to formally investigate Boots’ Christmas ad following accusations of animal cruelty.

Boots chirstmas ad
Retailer in the dock over spot after accusations its Christmas ad encouraged animal cruelty.

A spokeswoman for the Advertising Standards Authority says the spot, which has received 16 complaints to date about a scene showing a child pointing a hair dryer at a dog, is being investigated on grounds it could “encourage children and adults to emulate unsafe behaviour”.

Complainants claimed the spot is “harmful” and “irresponsible” because the blow dryer could harm the dog’s eyes. Separate complaints accuse the spot of encouraging children to use electrical devices.

Boots did not respond to a request for further comment before this article was published. The retailer previously told Marketing Week the ad “fully complies with all advertising regulations around children and animals and has been approved by Clearcast”, adding “Bandit’s [the dog in the spot] trainer was with him on set at all times and he was properly supervised during the filming so we could ensure that all of his welfare needs were met.”

The ad is one of several Christmas spots to attract controversy this year. Asda’s festive spot has attracted hundreds of complaints that it is sexist.

Elsewhere, the ASA has yet to decide whether to launch an investigation into Morrisons’ festive effort, which has led to 15 complaints of sexism but has decided not to investigate the two complaints Barclaycard’s latest campaign was offensive to men.

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