Thomas Cook TV advert has been banned after viewers claimed it could cause harmful copy-cat behaviour among children.
More than 100 complaints were made against the ad which showed a holidaymaker remove a valve from a wheel of one of the company’s coaches with a pair of pliers to cause a flat tyre in an apparent bid to avoid returning home from a sunny destination.
The advertising watchdog ruled that the Thomas Cook campaign was “irresponsible” after it received 118 objections.
The Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints which suggested children could emulate the potentially dangerous scene.
The ASA ruled: “Although we were satisfied that adults would not view the ad as condoning the act of removing the tyre valve, we considered that children, including teenagers, were unlikely to identify the fantastical nature of the story.
“We also noted that the scene in which the tyre valve was removed was central to the ad’s narrative and, because of the risks to children in emulating that action, considered that the ad unreasonably featured that behaviour.
“We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.”
Cook argued that the “horrified and outraged” reaction of the other holidaymakers in the ad indicated that the behaviour of the man letting down the tyre was not condoned.
The company said it did not consider that the ad was irresponsible because it clearly showed a comical scene and the man’s actions were immediately challenged as being wrong.
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