Wednesday, October 6
SonyBroadcastingThe UK's advertising watchdog has cleared Sony over a television advert that attracted more than 50 complaints for depicting a child spitting.
The ad, for Sony Internet TV, featured two teams of children playing football in a massive stadium packed with spectators.
The shot then switched to the same children playing in a park, before the strapline said, "Imagine reliving the greatest games...Sony Internet TV".
However, 56 viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about a section of the ad featuring a boy spitting on the ground after a shot on goal had been saved.
The complainants felt that the child spitting was "offensive" and risked causing "harmful emulation of anti-social behaviour because it glamorised the act".
Sony UK said that it regretted any offence caused by the ad, which was not intended to condone spitting but poke gentle fun at "one of the less attractive aspects of the national game".
Clearcast, the body that cleared the ad, expressed its surprise at the complaints as spitting "was what many footballers on telly did and had done for a very long time".
Despite noting that spitting was "distasteful to some", the ASA opted to dismiss the complaints after deciding that the ad was not in breach of the advertising code.
The watchdog noted that the spitting sequence was "very brief" and appeared in context of the premise of children emulating professional footballers.
The ASA also said that the ad's scenario was "clearly fantastical" and therefore unlikely to glamorise the act of spitting or encourage copycat behaviour.
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