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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 18:20 GMT
Record complaints over gum advert
Wrigley's X-cite
The advert for the gum has sparked 570 complaints
An advert for chewing gum featuring a dog coming out of a man's mouth has drawn the highest ever number of complaints from viewers.

A record 570 people have complained to watchdog the Independent Television Commission (ITC) since the ads were first shown last week.

It is the highest amount in the commission's 13-year history.

The ad, for Wrigley's X-cite brand of chewing gum, shows a dog coming out of a man's mouth to highlight the problems of 'dog-breath'.

A man lying on a couch is seen to retch and then vomit out a small, grey dog.

It has beaten the record of 540 complaints previously set by an ad for Levi's jeans which featured a dead hamster in 1998.

Many of the complaints the ITC has received were from parents who said their children had been scared by the ad, or adults who said the clip had left them feeling unwell.

"We have been flooded with complaints and the total is rising all the time," an ITC spokeswoman said.

ITC investigation

She added: "Parents have been complaining that their children are scared by it, and some of the adults have said they were actually sick themselves after watching it."

The ITC will investigate to see whether the ad has breached guidelines.

Wrigley's has said they will move their ad to after the 9pm watershed, but would not pull it completely.

The company apologised for upsetting viewers but said that "only a minute percentage" found it offensive.

In a statement, they said: "The Wrigley Company is dismayed to learn that some viewers were unhappy with the new advertisement for X-cite.

"We would like to assure the public that it is not, nor has it ever been, our intention to upset anyone by our adverts."

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