The Advertising Standards Authority has received 5 complaints to date about the spot from people who say it 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.The watchdog has not yet decided whether to launch a formal investigation.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA says brands using animals in ads should make sure they are not causing them any “suffering or distress”
She adds: “”Showing actions that children may copy is also a concern, as although the production company may have taken every care not to compromise the animals welfare, a child copying at home will take no such care.
A spokeswoman for Boots says: “We have been delighted with the great response we’ve had to the new Boots UK Christmas Advert, and particularly to Bandit the dog. We would like to reassure all customers that the advert fully complies with all advertising regulations around children and animals and has been approved by Clearcast. Bandit’s 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 90-second spot, which features a number of families giving gifts, broke at the weekend (10 November). It introduces the new strapline “Let’s feel good. Let’s give gifts that keep on giving.”
It is the second Christmas ad to attract controversy this year. Asda’s festive spot has attracted hundreds of complaints that it is sexist.