Giffgaff Zombie ad cleared of ‘trivialising murder’

Mobile network operator GiffGaff has been cleared of charges that its recent horror-themed ads, featuring decapitated zombies, trivialised violence by the advertising watchdog, despite the TV campaign sparking hundreds of complaints.  

The ads featured a horde of zombies encroaching upon a rural village, with some decapitating themselves while others had their heads separated from their bodies, and prompted over 105 TV viewers to complain. 

The majority of complainants claimed the ads were likely to cause distress, with others adding that it was likely that it was unsuitable for general broadcast. A tenth of the complaints also claimed the ads recently trivialised a recent murder featured in the news. 

However, the mobile operator successfully rebutted all charges highlighting the ads were cleared for broadcast after 10.15pm by Clearcast, and argued the ad was humorous, rather than scary, as it featured the text “This is an advertisement”, regularly throughout its broadcast. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling reads: “We acknowledged that the ad did not air earlier than 10.15 pm, nor did it air adjacent to any programme directed at, or likely to appeal to audiences below the age of 18. 

“We concluded therefore, that children were unlikely to view the ad and the allocated scheduling was appropriate for the level of horror and provided sufficient protection to audiences aged under 18.”

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