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ASA stamps on Crazy Frog TV ads

No amphibians before 9pm, says watchdog

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The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Crazy Frog adverts from appearing on British TV before Nine O'clock in the evening in an effort to protect children from his tuneless squeaking.

VeriSign subsidiary Jamster, the company behind the amphibian, says it intends "to pursue all legal means to overturn the ASA's unjust and unfounded decision about its past advertisements". It described the ASA decision as "flawed".

Jamster complains: "The ASA fails to adequately consider the well-established fact that the overwhelming majority of Jamster's customers are above the age 16."

In fact, the ASA devotes some time to this "well-established fact". Jamster provided the ASA with a survey which they said showed less than 3.87 per cent of their customers were under 16.

With restrained dryness the ASA judgement reads: "We appreciated the efforts taken by Jamster to initiate a survey to provide us with customer figures, but we did not consider that the internal survey had been adequate show the age of Jamster customers. It was based on calls to the customer service department over a six-day period." The ASA was satisfied that the product was of interest to children.

The judgement also said: "The 40,000 TV broadcasts in a one-month period made it most unlikely that a child would not have been aware of the characters."

Eighty people complained that Jamster adverts did not make clear they were selling a subscription service rather than soliciting a one-off payment. Some 244 people complained that the ad was aimed at children; 33 complained that their kids had downloaded ringtones and they had subsequently received large phone bills. ®

Cultural observation

Nine pm marks "the watershed" in the UK, the time when British kids are assumed to be in bed leaving their parents to watch all kinds of filth on the telly.

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