Cheese maker Adams Foods has moved the timing of its television advert for Pilgrim’s Choice cheese after it received 35 complaints to the UK’s advertising watchdog.
The advert shows a woman opening her fridge door as a male voice behind her says: “Easy there, pilgrim.” The woman turns to see a miniature cowboy sitting on the kitchen counter, wiping an “oversized” cut throat razor on a tea-towel.
He proceeds to shave himself with the blade, wiping the razor across his face and neck, and says to the woman: “I’ll let myself out”. He runs from the room to the cat flap, pointing an “oversized” gun at a cat saying: “Back off, Mr Wiggles.”
Seventeen challenged whether the use of a gun in the final scene was “offensive”, while 17 thought the advert “trivialised” knife crime.
In defence, Adams said the ad was not intended to “cause harm, offence or potentially dangerous emulation by children”, adding that the gun scene was “clearly intended to be humorous because the cat was almost double the size of the cowboy”.
In its ruling the ASA said older children would understand the scenario depicted in the ad was surreal because of the disconnect between the cowboy and the modern domestic kitchen in which the ad was set.
The ASA cleared Adams on the gun and knife crime counts, however, it said the ad should not have been shown before 9pm due to the “potential for serious harm that would result from emulation by young children”.
The watchdog said it considered a scheduling restriction implemented by Clearcast, which prevented the ad from being broadcast in or around programmes directed at children under the age of 16 years, was “insufficient to minimize the risk of young children seeing the ad”.
Therefore, it judged that the ad should have been a given a 9pm timing restriction and ruled that it had not been appropriately scheduled, a move which Adams Foods subsequently took.
The ASA concluded: “We welcomed Adams Foods’ prompt decision to reschedule the ad for broadcast only in post 9pm slots, which had been effective since 19 May. In light of that, we considered that no further action was necessary.”