‘Nightmarish’ stroke serial killer ad banned

An ad that portrays stroke as a serial killer, and features a man smashing a brain with a hammer, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Board.

The ASB ruled that the ad for National Stroke Foundation, created by the now-defunct agency DraftFCB Melbourne, did not contain enough health information on stroke, and the violent nature of the ad was unjustified.

In its defence, the NSF said that after ten years of campaigning to reduce the impact of stroke, a recent survey found that only six per cent of Australians think that stroke is a health concern. “This campaign has certainly got people to talk about stroke”, the NSF told the ASB.

One complainant said that the ad was too disturbing for adults as well as children and “does not educate” because it lacks any health information.

One complaint suggested that the ad would cause nightmares.

The ASB ruled that the lack of a call to action meant that the aggression shown in the ad was “not delivered in the context of a message about what to do in the case of stroke, how to identify the symptoms or any other information to guide the viewer and was not justified in the context of the advertisement.” So it upheld complaints made against the ad.

As a result of the ruling, the National Stroke Foundation has said it will modify the ads so that they have a stronger call to action and is considering changing the ending of the ad, where the hammer strikes the brain.

NSF is one of the advertisers that was left agencyless after the closure of DraftFCB Melbourne. The organisation told Mumbrella that it currently has no plans to find another agency, and has other ads that can run instead of the serial killer execution.


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