Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Content regulation and context

A truly appalling advert for the Mazda MX-5, broadcast pre-watershed, attratced 425 complaints and received widespread coverage. The UK Advertising Standards Authority upheld the decision to show the ad on TV and cinema, previously passed by those self-regulatory authorities. It referred to the 'Carry On' style of the ad, by J. Walter Thompson, which was shown in 4 European countries.
I found it blatantly offensive and realise why - the context not only of being shown to minors, but also because - it simply WASN'T funny. This actually negates the contextual claim.
But consider: as a content self-regulator, you are required to judge whether an advert is funny and acceptable, or pathetic and therefore ill-judged and crass.
The same can of course apply to racial hatred and unfairness claims - satire (e.g. Private Eye or 2DTV) can comment where factual programming cannot.