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Not even One Direction can make kids interested in the Daily Mail, says ASA

By | Published on Wednesday 23 March 2016

One Direction

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about a pre-roll advert for horror film ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ being shown before a video related to One Direction on the Daily Mail website. Because, you know, if you’re going to go on the Daily Mail website looking for One Direction news, things can’t get any more horrific for you. Though that’s not actually what the ruling said.

As well as playing before the One Direction clip, the fifteen second movie trailer also ran on a playlist of Disney and music videos on Vevo’s Apple TV app. This, said the complainant, showed that the advert had not been targeted responsibly, as it featured alongside content likely to appeal to children.

In its defence, Paramount Pictures said that the trailer for the fifteen certificate film had been targeted at 15-24 year olds, and that the ad agency involved had been instructed not to place adverts on websites specifically marketed to children. The Mail website, it noted, is not aimed at children, but does attract a high number of users within the target demographic, which would likely be why the ad appeared there.

As for the Vevo playlist, it said that neither it nor Vevo were involved in its curation, but that it featured other artists tagged as of interest to the people it was trying to reach. In addition to One Direction, other artists apparently of interest to the sort of person who might want to see if the people behind ‘Paranormal Activity’ had worked out how to make a good film after six attempts include Beyonce and Selena Gomez.

Also, the film producer said, information provided by users and assumed from their internet activity was used to ensure that the trailer was not served to anyone under the age of fifteen. So there.

In its assessment, the ASA noted that, while One Direction do appeal to a variety of ages, including those under the age of fifteen, the Mail website is not likely to be a particular destination for children. Also, it said, the Vevo playlist in question was one created by the complainant themselves. As well as featuring artists flagged as of interest to the target audience, the Apple account through which it was viewed showed that the user was over fifteen.

“We noted that the ad had appeared before videos from artists who would be popular with people of various ages, including under fifteens, but that they appealed primarily to the target demographic of 15-24 year olds”, it said. “As such, we did not consider that the ad was placed within content specifically aimed at children or likely to appeal to them particularly. For those reasons, we concluded that the ads had not been irresponsibly targeted”.

I think the moral of this story is, don’t let your children see the Daily Mail website.