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'Irresponsible' Wanadoo TV ad banned

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An 'irresponsible' TV ad promoting Wanadoo UK's internet service has been banned because it might encourage youngsters to play in scrapyards.

The ad showed teenagers frolicking, flirting and snogging among wrecked and mangled cars.

Sixty two people complained that the "French kiss" [how apt for a company owned by France Telecom, ed] that ended the TV commercial was "too explicit" while a dozen punters were concerned that showing young people playing in a "dangerous environment" could lead to someone getting hurt.

Defending the ad Wanadoo UK's ad agency, M&C Saatchi, said the snog was not "coarse or unduly sexual". As for the backdrop, the creative boutique insisted that that the scrapyard was a "stylised American setting" with the "'pop-video' type location intended to be fantastical".

Nonsense, said the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which ruled that the kiss was "much too graphic" for when the ad was shown. As for playing among old bangers, the ASA ruled the it was "irresponsible to show a car scrapyard as an adventurous place to hang out with friends".

"The commercial was not 'fantastical' but set in an ordinary car scrapyard, with young people splashing about in mud and puddles."

"The kissing couple were shown inside a wrecked car with smashed windows, obviously having climbed into it. The possibility for harm was clearly evident. Rusted, mangled cars, with broken windscreens and open car boots were piled high on top of each other. The risk of becoming trapped or crushed by a toppling car, or of an injury from sharp metal or from broken glass was unmistakable," said the watchdog.

"We believed that it was irresponsible to show a car scrapyard as an adventurous place to hang out with friends," it said.

No one at Wanadoo UK was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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