This Spotify Ad Was Banned From UK Television – But Why?


Spotify is now one of the leading music streaming services worldwide, and is favourited by both artists and consumers alike. In a world full of advertisement, like any company, Spotify are looking to spread awareness of their services and grab the attention of consumers in a competitive market. Now, according to the UK’s Advertising Standards Association, one of Spotify’s recent ads is considered to have apparently “unjustifiably caused children distress” which came to light when a complaint was filed by a parent whose children viewed the ad while on the popular and mostly child-friendly gaming page, Hello Neighbour. According to the report, as documented on Gizmodo, the ad has since been banned from UK television now after the ASA deemed it “too scary.”

According to Spotify in a statement, they have acknowledged the decision of the Advertising Standards Authority, and are extremely regretful for any distress the ad may have caused the public.

“We acknowledge the ruling from the ASA and regret any distress the ad may have caused the complainant. It was created as a tongue-in-cheek horror parody – intended to be a humorous ad that demonstrated just how catchy some tracks can be. We take our responsibilities as a marketer very seriously and continue to be mindful of the ASA’s guidance on the effective and appropriate targeting of advertising campaigns.” Spotify noted in a statement.

The ad first began with a group of young adults hanging out together in a house, getting ready for the day with a “Wake Up Playlist” that comes on featuring the fun and vibrant popular “Havana” song by Camila Cabello. Immediately after the song starts to play, a classic horror soundtrack starts to seep into the music. At the six second mark of the 30 second spot, a white-masked horror doll comes to life on the couch amidst an ominous swell of music that raises over Cabello’s song. From there, the doll goes on a rampage and scares everyone who plays that song.



Recently, another type of advertisement was under fire by the UK public. Adverts showing a woman struggling to park a car or a man refusing to do housework while his wife cooks dinner will be banned from next year as part of an industry-wide crackdown on sexist stereotypes.

Under the new advertisement rules, British companies will no longer be able to create promotions that depict men and women engaged in gender-stereotypical activities, with fears quickly growing that such depictions are contributing to pay inequality and causing psychological harm to the public.

The rules will also ban adverts that suggest that transforming your body will make you romantically successful, while also clarifying rules on the sexualisation of young women. The Advertising Standards Authority is set to be officially enforced with the new code from June 2019.

The ASA’s Ella Smillie, who helped to devise the new rules, stated “We don’t see ourselves as social engineers, we’re reflecting the changing standards in society. Changing ad regulation isn’t going to end gender inequality but we know advertising can reinforce harmful gender stereotypes, which can limit people’s choices or potential in life.”

The rules will cover adverts in newspapers, magazines, on television, in cinema, on leaflets and on the internet. They will also apply to paid-for promoted posts by celebrities on services such as Instagram, providing the advertiser paying the social media influencer had final approval over the post.

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