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LONDON – The poster campaign for the DVD release of horror movie Final Destination 5 has been banned in the U.K. by the Advertising Standards Authority for upsetting children.
The ad watchdog ruled that the poster, which shows a skull being shattered by steel rods driven through its mouth and eye sockets, must not appear again in its current form after upholding a slew of complaints from adults with upset children.
The Warner Bros. release has been advertized by the imagery on posters on the side of buses and on billboards on the London Underground tube network.
The campaign ran in August this year ahead of its August 26 rollout and the ASA received 13 complaints that the poster and it’s tag line “It’s not if, It’s when Final Destination 5” was distressing and unsuitable for children to see.
Three people who complained claimed that their young children had become visibly upset when they saw the ad on a bus.
ASA said in its ruling that it “considered the image was likely to catch the attention of children, especially because it was shown on a poster on the Underground, where it was an untargeted medium.”
Because very young children might view the ad depicting violence, “it was likely to cause fear and undue distress to children,” ASA said.
Warner Bros. argued that the skull was a “fantasy image” and the poster “accurately reflected the content of the film in an appropriate manner without causing excessive fear or distress.”
Despite WB’s protestations, ASA said the ad must not appear again in its original form. The ban won’t affect box office as it is after the theatrical rollout.
The movie took more than $8 million at the box office in the U.K. earlier this year.
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