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TV watchdog OKs fart ad despite 'bad taste' complaints

LONDON - Flatulence in a charitable cause has been given the OK by the advertising watchdog, despite 88 complaints about an ad for Walkers Crisps in aid of Comic Relief that showed celebrities, including such as Kate Winslet and Liam Neeson, farting.

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In the spot, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in support of Walkers baked beans-flavoured crisps, Gary Lineker reprises his usual role as the would-be Walkers crisps thief. However, he is thwarted in every attempt to separate the stars from their snacks, because all of them inadvertently repel him with a fart just as he is sneaking up to rob them.

The complaints, which included nine viewers who thought the commercial might encourage children to copy the advertisement, objected that it was a poor-taste portrayal of flatulence.

The Independent Television Commission admitted that flatulence, however portrayed, will be offensive to some viewers. But in its report on the complaints, it said: "The charitable aims behind the advertising, the good-natured approach of the Walkers campaign generally and the childish humour that characterises Comic Relief all reduced the chances of significant offence."

Walkers donated 1p from every packet of baked beans-flavoured crisps and Monster Munch sold and 5p from baked bean multi-packs to Comic Relief, as well as giving away 5m whoopee cushions. The crisp company also agreed a £1m donation to Comic Relief aside from the baked-beans flavoured crisp promotion.

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