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Phones4u ‘scary little girl’ ad is too scary for viewers

Updated Advertising Standards Agency starts a formal investigation
Wed Oct 12 2011, 10:55

AN ADVERT FROM MOBILE PHONE SELLER Phones4U is too scary for some viewers and will be the subject of a ruling from the UK Advertising Standards Agency.

The INQUIRER stumbled across the advert over the weekend and nearly dropped its bag of crisps. In it a woman is pursued across a car park, an eerie car park at that, before being told by a ghoulish infant that Phones4U has some sort of fantastic offer on phones that you don't want to miss.

We forget the handset and offer in question, but the tag line, which we assume is designed to appeal to people waiting for Halloween, says, "Missing our deals will haunt you." Sadly for some people it has apparently done just that.

The Advertising Standards Agency has had 260 complaints about the advert, according to a spokesman we spoke to this morning, and has already started its investigation into whether it is too scary or inappropriate.

We do not know the content of the complaints, but we imagine that they all run along similar lines, which is that the advert is scary, and includes the sort of imagery you might usually see in the kind of DVDs you keep away from the kids.

We have requested a comment from Phones4u about the advert, which we have linked to below. We caution you that it might be a bit scary, and suggest that perhaps you should watch it from behind the sofa.

In a statement a spokesperson for Phones4u told us that the number of complaints about its advert were minimal in comparison to the number of views that it had.

"The positive sentiment online in relation to this campaign is still outweighing the negative so we're happy with how the campaign is going so far," it said before explaining that the advert has something to do with the current economic climate.

"The aim of the campaign is to portray that sense of frustration and fear that you feel in today's current economic climate, that you could have got a better deal. At Phones 4u we work really hard to find our customers the right deal for them and that's what our new campaign focuses on - the 'fear' of missing out on our deals, whilst retaining that same sense of humour we're known for."

The other thing we should remember is that the characters, and there is another advert with a zombie, are now part of our cultural heritage.

"We've used classic characters and scenes from the horror genre in our new adverts that resonate with a wide audience - from the xBox gamer to the mid 30's scary movie watcher, who recognise the scenes from a large number of classic movies from this genre," added the firm.

"Obviously we are sorry if the little girl edit has offended or scared anyone, and apologise to those it may have affected." µ



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