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Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK


ITC rules ad too hot to handle

The advertisng campaign for the new entertainment magazine Heat

A TV advertisement which showed people bursting into flames has been banned by the Independent Television Commission.

The TV watchdog is also preparing to release its annual report on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 programming.

ITC switchboard lights up

Media Correspondent Torin Douglas explains the ITC ruling
More than 300 viewers complained to the TV watchdog about the advert for a magazine called Heat.

The ads, which have been running for a couple of months, feature characters who ignite as they read the new entertainments magazine.

They were made by advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. A spokeswoman said: "Obviously there was no intention to offend anyone. It was a play on the title of the magazine.

"Metaphorically speaking the heat transfers to the people reading the magazine."

The ITC said the Heat campaign "ultimately went beyond what could be justified in television advertising".

Most of the people who complained to the ITC objected to the "disturbing" and "shocking" imagery and more than 50 mentioned their own painful experiences with fire.

Two firemen and three wives of firemen said they were "appalled" and six people who worked with burns victims expressed concern.

While accepting the commercials may have caused particular fear in some viewers, the ITC recognised that advertisers had "not intended to cause upset to viewers".

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