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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 1 June, 2020

Mobile network ad had to be changed because child was holding a phone on a bouncy castle

The complaint was upheld.

The offending ad.
The offending ad.
Image: YouTube

A PHONE NETWORK has been ordered to amend one of its TV advertisements after a member of the public complained that a child was shown using a mobile phone on a bouncy castle – something the complainant claimed was dangerous. 

Two versions of a television ad for Three Ireland featured a woman working in an office who receives a video call from her daughter. The child is attending a birthday party and while talking to her mother, runs towards a bouncy castle asking her mother to “come bounce with me”.

In one version the child is seen holding onto the phone while on the bouncy castle, while on the second she is empty-handed. The scene goes back to the mother who is smiling holding her phone and walking into an elevator with her papers in her hand.

One complainant objected to the advertisement that featured the child holding onto the mobile phone on the bouncing castle as they considered it was irresponsible and dangerous to carry a hard and potentially damaging object on a bouncy castle – something which was upheld by the Advertising and Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI).

Three Ireland defended its ad and said that another adult was present at the birthday party and was clearly supervising the child before she entered the bouncing castle.

The company said that the same adult’s voice was also featured at the end of the ad which it considered indicated that they were still present with the child at the end of the ad.

Three also noted that it was acknowledged that parents and guardians had primary responsibility for children. It said that children’s use of play equipment such as bouncy castles or technology such as smartphones, devices and tablets in general was a matter for parental discretion, decision and adult supervision.

The ASAI concluded: “The advertisement featuring the child holding the mobile phone on the bouncy castle must not reappear in its current form. The Complaints Committee reminded the advertiser not to portray behaviour that could be seen as encouraging or condoning unsafe practices or dangerous behaviour in future advertising.”

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