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ASA‎ adjudication of giffgaff zombie commercial

August 28, 2013

Recall the Giffgaff mobile commercial with tagline: “different doesn’t have to be scary” — the UK Advertising Standards Authority received 105 complaints about the commercial and investigated four issues, see ASA Adjudication on giffgaff Ltd, Complaint Ref: A13-232326 :

The ASA received 105 complaints:

1. The majority of viewers challenged whether the level of horror and gore was offensive and likely to cause distress.
2. Eleven viewers challenged whether the violence in the ad was offensive and so trivialised a recent news item in which a man had been murdered.
3. Nine viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable for a general viewing audience, which could include children.
4. Four viewers challenged whether it was sufficiently clear that the material being broadcast was an ad.

In response giffgaff explained:

the ad was a parody of the zombie genre and that the objective was to be humorous rather than scary. They said there was no intention to trivialise a recent news item in which a man was murdered. … They said the use of zombies was a creative device used to show consumers that something they were initially afraid of could actually be useful and the turning point of the ad was when a zombie used his own arm to retrieve a cat from a tree.

The ASA report assesses each of the four claims under BCAP Code and none are upheld ; “No further action necessary.”

The story was reported in MarketingWeek: “Giffgaff Zombie ad cleared of ‘trivialising murder’

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