ITC outlaws Sony but lets Heinz ad run

TV watchdog the Independent Television Commission has outlawed an ad for a Sony digital music player, for being “unacceptably offensive”.

The ad shows an emergency team preparing to use equipment for cardiac shock treatment on a teenager. In fact, the team place ear pieces from a music player in the lad’s ears and with each blast of music his body is shown convulsing.

The resuscitation parody received 25 complaints from viewers.

The ITC ruled that it would be a powerful reminder of tragedy “for significant numbers of viewers”.

An ITC spokesman says: “We determined that the Sony ad could be seen to generate more unnecessary distress to a large number of people, who may have experienced the loss of loved ones.”

At the same time, a controversial Heinz salad cream ad which allegedly made fun of the homeless has been cleared by the ITC – despite 112 complaints.

The watchdog refused to ban the ad, which showed a homeless man buying salad cream for food from a dustbin, despite claims it trivialised homelessness and was in bad taste.

The ad by Leo Burnett, which carries the strapline “anything tastes supreme with Heinz salad cream”, was meant to be humorous.

But homeless charity The Big Issue complained about the ad, claiming it reinforces a stereotype.

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