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Foster's crocodile attack ad cleared after 184 complaints

LONDON - A TV advertisement by M&C Saatchi for Foster's, showing a man getting his head bitten off by a crocodile, has escaped a ban despite receiving 184 complaints from viewers.

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The ad, created to promote Foster's new pouring system, which keeps the head all the way down the glass, is shot in the style of a home video.

It shows a man, Big Doug, doing a bungee jump into a river. As he hits the water, a crocodile bites his head off with a snapping sound effect, while a commentator says: "Oh, that's going to hurt. Crikey, that's going to hurt in the morning, son."

The bulk of the complaints concerned children. Viewers said that the ad, which many found startling, was not suitable for children and they did not want their kids to see it or that it had upset their children. Others said that because it was shot in a camcorder style, it looked like programmes such as 'You've Been Framed' and, therefore, made them believe it was a real incident.

However, the Independent Television Commission said that the commentary was "clearly humorous" and that the slogan, "don't lose your head" obviously applied to the beer.

It pointed out that because the ad was for alcohol, it was bound by the usual restrictions, meaning that it could not be screened during children's programming. The ITC also said that although it was startling, the ad was not graphic or bloody, nor was it in close-up. The commission concluded that the existing scheduling restrictions were adequate.

The ad was written by M&C Saatchi's Jerry Gallaher and art directed by Clive Yaxley. It was directed by Danny Kleinman through Spectre.

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