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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 17:27 GMT
Watchdog bans graphic kiss advert
Wanadoo advert
Scrapyard scene in the Wanadoo advert at the centre of the row
A TV commercial has been banned by an industry watchdog after 68 complaints were made over an "explicit kiss".

The advert, for internet firm Wanadoo, shows teenagers dancing through a scrapyard, and a girl and boy kissing on the seat of a smashed car.

The commercial, created by advertising agency M&C Saatchi, was labelled "irresponsible" by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Concern was also highlighted over the "dangerous environment" of the advert.

Many complaints expressed worries over children being exposed to the commercial.

The Broadcasting Advertising Clearance centre, which screens commercials before they are broadcast, had recommended the Wanadoo commercial be kept away from children's programmes.

'Dangerous environment'

The ASA said it was uncommon to see such "explicit kissing" in a programme shown before the 9pm watershed.

The watchdog felt the timing restriction imposed was not enough to protect young children, saying they could still view the advert during the day.

"Although the advertising might have been aimed at 16- to 34-year-olds, the timing restriction was inadequate in keeping the material away from children aged nine to 12 plus," it said.

But M&C Saatchi disagreed that the kiss shown was "coarse or unduly sexual", saying that other shows, including the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, broadcast the same type of kiss.

The ASA also received complaints about the scrapyard environment that the advert was shot, with some saying it could encourage youngsters to play in what they described as a "dangerous environment", potentially leading to harm.

M&C Saatchi argued the commercial featured actors aged over 18 and had "not portrayed the scrapyard as a fun place".

The advertising agency said the actors "derived pleasure from interacting with each other, not the vehicles."

But the ASA disagreed and labelled the commercial "irresponsible" for showing a scrapyard as an "adventurous place to hang out with friends".

The watchdog concluded "the advertisement was unsuitable to be shown at any time".

A spokesperson for Wanadoo said they were disappointed with the adjudication.

"We set out to make a commercial that would differentiate Wanadoo and intended to do so in a responsible way in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre.

"We are adhering to the ASA's adjudication and have replaced the ad in question with another ad from our "Wanadoo Today" series," the spokesperson said.

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