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Third advertiser found guilty of promoting horror movie during family television time

For the third time in two months an advertiser has been found by the Ad Standards Board to have breached industry guidelines in promoting a horror or thriller movie during a family program.

Universal Pictures’ crime film The Snowman has fallen foul of the ad watchdog for portraying unjustifiable violence and being too violent for a broad audience.

Earlier in October, a trailer for Roadshow Films’ horror film IT was banned for using “implied violence” to a broad audience while five days later Sony Entertainment’s thriller Flatliners had its trailer banned for “cause alarm and distress to children”.

The R rated movie, The Snowman, which also aired during Seven’s family program Little Big Shots, featured snippets from the film including a frame which shows a dead body.

One complaint to the ad watchdog said it was an “inappropriate advert to be shown to young children”.

“It showed some of the story line, and a dead body. I feel it was totally inappropriate for the time slot and during a light family entertainment programme,” another complaint added.

Responding to the complaints, Universal Pictures said it “strives to advertise films of this content in a manner that remains appropriate for all consumers” and the ad was approved by Free TV’s commercial advice arm CAD.

Buying media placements for The Snowman trailer was MediaCom who “exercised care with the planning and selection of the TV schedule and focused on programming that reaches our intended 16+ audience group,” Universal Pictures said.

“We apologise for any distress caused and would like to reassure all parties involved that we have adhered to all required standards and the industry code of conduct in relation to the advertising materials and placements for this film,” the advertiser continued.

The Ad Standards Board noted it had upheld complaints relating to the IT trailer and Flatliners finding the 30 second trailer for The Snowman breach the AANA Advertiser Code of Ethics.

The Snowman’s 30 second ad “did portray violence that was unjustifiable in the context of the product or service advertised,” the watchdog concluded.

Universal Pictures have ceased advertising on TV for The Snowman.

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