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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 17:59 GMT
Charity swaps shock for smile

Barnardo's The original Barnardo's advert sparked controversy

A controversial advert that showed a baby injecting itself with heroin has been replaced by one of a "happy and bonny" child.

The Barnardo's advert caused a storm when the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said it was "too shocking" to be shown and urged newspapers and magazines not to use it.

Some publications did run the advert, which aimed to highlight the plight of abused or disadvantaged children if they are not helped by charities such as Barnardo's.

But because some newspapers did not carry it, Barnardo's has produced a replacement.

The charity has denied a climb down - saying newspapers could still publish either advert.

Andrew Nebel, Barnardo's director of marketing and communications, said the charity was standing by its original hard-hitting work.

"The readers of the newspapers that refused to carry the advertisement should be allowed to make up their own minds.

"We would love to be able to use soft cuddly images all the time, but we feel that we must raise public awareness of the deprivation that can blight the lives of thousands of children today."

The original advert, which first appeared on 22 January, featured text underneath the photograph that read: "John Donaldson. Age 23. Battered as a child, it was always possible that John would turn to drugs. With Barnardo's help, child abuse need not lead to an empty future."

Mr Nebel said: "The basic premise of the entire campaign is centred on Barnardo's work with children and young people to prevent them experiencing the negative situations shown in the advertising."

Although the new picture is cute - the words are not.

The text reads: "We're sorry if our recent baby ad upset some people. Unfortunately, in this very real world, tens of thousands of children don't have a bright, rosy future ahead of them. Their lives are being ruined by drugs, abuse, poverty, neglect."

The national newspapers who defied the ban included the Independent, Guardian, Observer and Scotsman newspapers.

Grounds of decency

The Daily Mail, the only other paper that received a booking for the advert, declined to accept it on grounds of decency.

Editors of the newspapers defended their decisions to publish, saying the advert's message was harsh, but clear.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said: "It is shocking but it is the sort of image that Guardian readers are sophisticated enough to deal with, and understand its message."

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See also:
22 Jan 00 |  UK
Paper defies advert ban
20 Jan 00 |  e-cyclopedia
Shockvertising: Ads that divide
19 Oct 99 |  UK
Barnardo's launches image revamp

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