Horror film’s smashed skull campaign banned

An outdoor campaign for horror film Final Destination 5 has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for including imagery that could scare and upset children.

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The ad appeared on London Underground and bus sides and showed a skull being shattered by steel rods driving through its mouth and eye sockets.

Complainants said that the ads were distressing for kids, with three adults saying that the bus ad had upset their children aged under three.

Film distributor Warner Bros Entertainment said that the animated poster reflected the horror film’s content “without causing excessive fear or distress” and that the image of the shattered skull was a “fantasy image” without any depiction of people, blood or real life violence.

The company said that the dark grey and black colour scheme was not likely attract the attention of young children and that they were unlikely to recognise the image to be that of a skull.

The ASA agreed that the image was surreal but said that the sight of steel rods slamming through the skull was likely to grab children’s attention, especially on the Underground where outdoor is untargeted.

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