The advertising watchdog has cleared publicity material for the NSPCC after complaints that its reference to child abuse was “disturbing and offensive”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigation concerned a DVD sent as a direct mailing in December.
Oh, lovely! Just like those ghastly blowins or full-page adverts of moppets with hare lips you get in the Sunday supplements.
Well, never mind. Haven’t we just learned that if something’s ‘offensive’ it only takes a handful of people to get it banned?
Step forward, handful of people!
Seven people complained that the text on the cover was disturbing and offensive, while one complainant said it could cause distress to individuals who had suffered abuse.
Another said the DVD was inappropriate for children to see.
Oh, boy! Nine of ‘em! Boy, is the charity in hot water now!
The charity said it recognised that some people would be sensitive to the “difficult” issues of child abuse.
Hah! That won’t save you from the wrath of the…
Oh. Hang on. Maybe not:
Rejecting the objections, the ASA said: “We took the view that any discomfort inherent in the subject of child abuse ought to be balanced by the worthwhile purpose of raising awareness of it.
“We considered that recipients were likely to understand the importance of the issue the mailing presented and that individuals who had suffered abuse would be likely to appreciate the work of the NSPCC and the message contained within it.
“We considered that the ad made clear its intended purpose, but was not likely to cause excessive distress or serious or widespread offence.”
Wait, hang on, something not right here!
The public shouldn’t have to view an advert for a sofa that has a slightly risqué slogan, based on five less complaints than this one, yet this gets a pass?
In its defence, the NSPCC said its mailings helped donations and it was therefore important that they made an impact.
So….as far as the ASA is concerned, it’s ok to upset and distress people as long as the money goes to what they consider ‘a good cause’?
Addendum: My mother has, it seems, been sending the RSPCA a small sum each month.
Well, that’s now stopping, because she was apparently rung up by their call centre staff last weekend (presumably trying to get her to increase this amount) who, despite her protestations that she did not want to hear about ‘the awful cruelty cases’ that they wanted to tell her about, carried on babbling away until she was forced to hang up on them.
The mailshots with the distressing pictures, she just put in the bin. The persistent phone call was the last straw.
I can’t say I’m not delighted.