ASA pulls plug on posters showing actors holding firearms

shootemupThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has slammed a poster campaign for action thriller “Shoot ‘Em Up”, which showed actor Clive Owen brandishing a gun, because it glamourised gun crime.

The campaign had three different executions of actors, including Monica Bellucci and Paul Giamatti, in various poses with guns.

The campaign triggered 55 complaints. The ASA ruled that the prominence of the guns in the poster suggested direct aggression, but did not uphold complaints that the posters were particularly offensive and insensitive to the family of Rhys Jones – the 11-year-old who was killed in a shooting incident in Liverpool in August – or that the posters were offensive because they could cause particular distress to young children.

The ASA acknowledged the distress of those recently affected by gun crime, but ruled that most members of the public would understand that the campaign reflected the content of an action film.

The ruling comes in the same week that the ASA announced it has received nearly 1,800 complaints about violence in more than 500 different ads.

The report into the use of violence in advertising will be the first major initiative by the new ASA chairman Chris Smith (MW November 1).

Meanwhile, a television ad for Morrisons attracted seven complaints because viewers challenged claims that the retailer made its bread fresh “from scratch”, and that produce on sale at fish counters had never been frozen. The ASA did not uphold any of the complaints.

The ad, which starred Denise Van Outen, was created by Delaney Lund Knox Warren.