'Creepy' Vodafone ad the target of complaints to the ASB

By AdNews | 14 October 2013

Critics on social media found the Vodafone 'Kidults' ad creepy, several people accused it of 'bad taste' to the ad watchdog but the board has dismissed complaints against it. And some people just don't like wasting watermelons.

The big, bold new positioning from Vodafone was launched last month with a high-profile ad depicting babies' heads imposed on adult bodies, played to a music track titled 'I Feel Just Like A Child'.

It was designed to convey a sense that Vodafone is for the young at heart.

But not everyone agreed. Almost immediately, the word 'creepy' was popping up on social media platforms to describe the ad. Some people took it a step further.

The Ad Standards Bureau received complaints from people which accused the ad of “sexualisation of children”.

One complainant wrote: “[...] this is in extremely bad taste. The use of babies, toddlers and children's heads being superimposed in [sic] adult bodies in adult situations such as driving a car, disco dancing etc gives me a feeling of uneasiness. It is weird and I cannot watch the ad.”

On a funnier note, one complainant took offence at a scene of 'kidults' kicking a watermelon down the street, which that person argued was callous because “plenty of people around the world is [sic] starving to death because there was no food available.”

The board dismissed the complaints and accepted Vodafone's rationale that the ads are based around a visual metaphor of the 'kidult'. The board argued the ad depicts adults acting like children and not children acting like adults.

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