Squarespace’s Keanu Reeves ad banned for depicting ‘reckless behaviour’

Two of Squarespace’s ads featuring Canadian actor Keanu Reeves have been banned by the local ad watchdog for promoting unsafe and “reckless behaviour”.

One of the ads features Reeves standing on top of a motorbike while driving down the road, while the other spot shows Reeves throwing his laptop into a fire and adding an accelerant.

Complaints posted to Ad Standards said the ad insinuates this is a “cool thing” to do as it is done by Reeves.

“This ad is promoting extremely risky dangerous behaviour.”

“I am horrified that this advert was even allowed on TV in the first place. Very irresponsible,” another complaint said.

Squarespace said the ad where Reeves is seen standing on a motorbike is a “dramatised version” of a stunt, similar to those performed in movies.

“The programs in which the TVC was broadcast are programs directed towards adults and would only reasonably be viewed by children with appropriate adult supervision,” Sqaurespace added.

Despite this, Ad Standards upheld the complaints as the behaviour on the bike is the focus of the ad and the disclaimer at the beginning of the commercial does not do enough to discourage people copying the “reckless behaviour”.

In the spot where Reeves is featured throwing a laptop into a burning fire with accelerant, Squarespace said this was also “clearly an exaggerated and dramatised film-like” scene.

Ad Standards upheld the complaints against the ad stating it shows a man standing very close to a fire and deliberately pouring accelerant on it, which promotes unsafe behaviour.

Squarespace is a software as a service-based content management system, integrated website builder, blogging platform, hosting service, commerce platform, and domain name registrar, with the ads using the tagline ‘Make it happen’.


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