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Creative laptop-in-the-bath ad banned

'Encouraged a dangerous practice'

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The UK's advertising watchdog has banned a Creative Labs ad over fears that it could encourage people to electrocute themselves.

Creative Labs Europe ran an ad for its SoundBlaster audio product featuring a woman in a bath using a laptop hooked up to a pair of speakers. Under the headline "Immerse Yourself - In Sound" the ad suggested that people looking to chill-out could "Turn your notebook, or desktop PC, into an audio entertainment centre for music, movies and gaming...".

Snag is, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint which pointed out that the ad was "irresponsible because it encouraged a dangerous practice". Creative disagreed, saying that it did not intend to encourage anyone to act so foolishly.

The ad was "not meant to be a 'real life' representation but a "metaphor for acoustic 'immersion', a term used by PC gamers to describe the experience of surround sound technology".

The use of laptops in the bath was not dangerous because they were battery-powered, low-voltage devices. And even if mains electricity was used, the voltage would be stepped down to battery-levels, Creative said.

This wasn't enough to sway the ASA, which was worried that people might get the wrong idea and think its OK to use electrical gear in the bath. So it upheld the complaint, ruling that the ad "could encourage readers to emulate a dangerous practice" and told Creative not to do it again. ®

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