Life Insurance  

ASA steps in over inappropriately scheduled life insurance ad

According to the ASA, Clearcast said the woman featured was not talking to the camera or in front of the children featured in the ad.

Rather, it was a separate voice-over which outlined her previous concerns about her health condition and the fact that she believed that being a parent was about protecting your children and that that should not stop when you die.

Clearcast said they had since applied a flag to the ad to ask broadcasters to consider scheduling it away from programmes for under 10-year-olds and to alert them that the ad contained references to death or someone dying.

BCAP Code breach

However, the ASA considered that the life insurance advert had a solemn tone and a realistic setting, with references to an incident of a parent experiencing a life-threatening health crisis and to the possibility of a parent dying.

In its ruling, the ASA stated: "The ad used language which we considered simple enough that the ad’s message would be understood by young children.

"One of the complainants explained that their child had been distressed about the death of her parent after viewing the ad. We considered the ad could be distressing to young children, but that it would be suitable for older children to see. The ad therefore needed to be sensitively scheduled.

"The ad was cleared without a scheduling restriction that would have restricted it from being broadcast in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.

"However, we understood that Clearcast had since flagged the ad as one which broadcasters should consider scheduling away from programmes for under 10-year-olds, which we considered was sufficient."

According to the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code), there is a general responsibility on broadcasters to ensure they exercise responsible judgement on the scheduling of ads, and that they operate internal systems capable of identifying and avoiding unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, especially those that could distress or offend viewers.

The BCAP Code also states that adverts which are suitable for older children but could distress younger children must be sensitively scheduled.

As a result, the ASA found the scheduling of the ad breached BCAP Code rules 5.1 (Children) and 32.1 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements).

The ASA ruling added:  "We also considered the ad’s broadcast at 8.00 am in particular was at a time when young children might be watching TV by themselves.