Ensure Your Halloween and Bonfire Night Ads Don’t Frighten Children.

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Ensure your Halloween and Bonfire Night adverts don't frighten children

Autumn is truly on its way, which means Halloween and Bonfire Night are just around the corner.

Many businesses take advantage of Halloween and Bonfire Night to help promote an event they’re holding. Or their products and services. However there are some codes which dictate what you can and cannot show.


Halloween Themed Adverts

When you think of Halloween, you think of children dressed up as scary characters, such as zombies or vampires.

However, when it comes to Halloween adverts, there are codes in place to ensure children aren’t scared by adverts.

The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising says that ‘children must be protected from advertisements that could cause physical, mental or moral harm’.

It doesn’t mean you can’t run a scary advert at all. You just need to think carefully about whether children may see it or not. And if they do, think about how they may feel or react to it.

This might mean you have to run any TV advertisements after 9PM and during programmes children aren’t likely to watch. Or display them in places children wouldn’t be able to see them.

For example, you couldn’t show a ‘scary’ advertisement outside a school as children would see it. However you could show the same advert in a nightclub where children wouldn’t see it.

You might remember the horror themed advert Phones 4 U ran last year. Which went on to receive 601 complaints as people felt it could be distressing to children.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) did not uphold the complaints as they said that Phones 4 U had only shown the adverts after 9PM and had made sure they were shown between programmes which children weren’t likely to be watching.


Bonfire Night Themed Adverts

Every year Bonfire Night safety adverts are run, warning both children and adults about the dangers of bonfires, sparklers and fireworks.

Most of these adverts feature children doing things they shouldn’t do or pictures of injuries. However the ASA say that you can use fear to promote safety, though it ‘should not be excessive’.

In 2009 the Department of Transport ran a road safety advert, promoting the need to wear seat belts. The advert showed a man having a car crash. The voice over went on to describe that he died because his internal organs hit his ribcage, puncturing his lung.

The advert received complaints saying that it had upset some viewers children. Even though the advert was not shown around programmes that were aimed at children.

The ASA decided that the advert was intended to be shocking in order to encourage people to use seatbelts.


What can you do to ensure your adverts are deemed acceptable?

Although there is definitely some irony here, as children enjoy dressing up as scary characters at Halloween. These codes need to be abided by.

If you decide not to abide by them, you run the risk of your advert being banned, which just results in a loss of money and time for your and your business.

In accordance with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), you should think carefully about where your advert will be placed and where it will be seen. If there’s a chance that children might see it, you need to consider whether it could scare them or not.

If you want to make sure your advert is within advertising codes, visit the CAP website and view the broadcast and non-broadcast advertising codes.

The CAP also offer a free copy advice service, which will check and confirm whether your advert is breaking any codes or not.


Contact us

For more advice on all things seasonal when it comes to marketing please feel free to browse the rest of the category.

If you need help developing your Halloween or Bonfire Night campaign, we can help you. Call us on 01543 495 752 or email us on contact@themarketingpeople.com and let’s talk about how we can help you.

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