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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 00:09 GMT 01:09 UK
Cigar advert 'offensive to dwarves'
Hamlet cigars
The advert for Hamlet was "offensive"
An advert which showed three dwarves struggling to reach a men's urinal has led to a reprimand for the makers of Hamlet cigars.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it received 19 complaints about the artwork for Hamlet Miniatures, including one from the Restricted Growth Association.

It portrayed one actor smoking a cigar and offering the packet to the others, who were clearly in some discomfort.

The ASA said it was seen as "offensive and vulgar, especially because it ridiculed short people".

A spokesman for the Gallaher Group, which makes the cigars, said it had spoken to several dwarf actors about how they should be portrayed.

Offence

The company said the advert was a light-hearted reflection of the problems faced by short people on a daily basis, and readers "would understand they were laughing with the dwarf actors and not at them".

The Gallaher Group also said it consulted the industry's Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team, which said the poster was unlikely to cause offence.

But the ASA ruled that the poster showed the dwarves in real discomfort and was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

It told the company not to use it again.

The watchdog rejected another complaint about the advert, which claimed it implied dwarves and short people were small because they or their mothers smoked.

See also:

09 Apr 02 | Business
Advert featuring Byers banned
03 Apr 02 | Business
Rail link slammed over advert claims
06 Mar 02 | Scotland
Watchdog's beef over meat advert
27 Feb 02 | Health
Tea health ads rapped
20 Feb 02 | England
'Ladyboy' advert branded insulting
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