ITC forces Howell to eat his words

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) president Rupert Howell has been forced to eat his words over the ban on a controversial TV ad for soft drink Tango.

The ad, created by Howell’s agency HHCL & Partners, was suspended by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) two weeks ago following complaints that it encouraged bullying in schools.

But the ITC this week hit out at Howell for claiming that its withdrawal was an example of how self-regulation works (MW March 9).

In a statement, the ITC points out that the ad was, in fact, suspended under statutory powers derived from the 1990 Broadcasting Act.

Howell has attempted to clarify his position by claiming HHCL complied with the ITC’s demands without complaint and that the bulk of the rules governing advertising are self-regulatory. “We could have kicked up a fuss and gone moaning to the press, but we didn’t. We took it on the chin and moved on, which shows that our system, which is based on the principle of self-regulation, works. There is no need for more legislation,” he says.

The 40-second ad showed a group of middle-aged men taunting a fat youth using orange megaphones.

A ten-second follow-up ad has never been aired following the suspension of the first execution. Instead, another ad was shot showing the fat youth sitting on his own.

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