The British advertising watchdog has rejected complaints over a ‘distressing’ advertisement about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which was shown before a children’s film. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had received 23 complaints about the short film, screened in cinemas before the children’s movie Shrek the Third. The complaints alleged that the short film was likely to upset young children. The voiceover accompanying the ad highlighting her abduction said, ‘Madeleine McCann has just turned four years old but her parents weren’t around to share this special day.’
During the voice-over a number of photographs of Madeleine were shown. In its judgment the ASA acknowledged that the information film was ‘inherently upsetting’, however added that the ad ‘raised awareness of the missing child with the aim of finding her’. A spokesperson added that the advertisement was ‘not socially irresponsible and was unlikely to cause undue fear and distress’.
The ASA investigated the Madeleine petition under clauses covering responsible advertising, fear and distress plus children, but ruled that the advertisement did not breach any regulations.