Ad watchdog bans Bono charity ad

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 09-10-2011

Antipoverty campaign group One International has fallen foul of UK advertising rules with its latest campaign “The F Word – Famine is the Real Obscenity”.
The charity, founded by U2 frontman Bono, has been informed by Clearcast, the body responsible for the pre-transmission examination and clearance of UK TV ads, that the ad which aims to focus the world's attention on the famine and food crisis in the Horn of Africa has broken of the UK’s advertising rules.
Specifically Clearcast says that the ad—hosted at ONE's YouTube channel and which features contributions from George Clooney, Annie Lennox, Bill Nighy, Thandie Newton, Kristin Davis, Ewan McGregor, Idris Elba, Colin Farrell and Bono himself among others— is currently in breach of Rule 7 of the BCAP Code which imposes a blanket prohibition on “political” advertising on.

Any UK broadcaster that carries an ad in breach of the rules on political advertising faces potential statutory sanction by telecoms and broadcast regulator Ofcom which could include a fine or revocation of licence. The ad is being shown in France and the US.
In a statement, Clearcast said: “These rules ensure that ads aren’t being broadcast by bodies whose objects are wholly or mainly political. ONE appears to be caught by this rule as they state that part of their raison d’être is to pressure political leaders. It also appears that a number of the claims are made in the version of the ad that we have seen are directed towards a political end, which is again against the rules.”
However this stance was rejected by the charity. Commented Europe Director of ONE Adrian Lovett: "We think it is completely wrong and absurd that this advert has been banned from TV in the UK. ONE is not a political party and we have no political affiliation. We recognise the purpose of the broadcasting code is to keep political propaganda off British television, but our ad highlights the desperate plight of 750,000 people in east Africa who the UN warns could die before the end of the year. Unless we keep the spotlight on this crisis and the need for urgent action, those people will be forgotten. Who can object to that message? We are challenging this decision and hope the broadcasters will reconsider."
Clearcast has pointed out that out that ad was not actually “banned” and said that it was in discussions with ONE to see if there is any way that the apparent legal hurdles can be overcome and the ad cleared.