Distressing Halloween poster must not be used again to advertise Norfolk’s PrimEvil

Staff at the Dinosaur Park preparing for the Primevil event last year. Photo: Bill Smith

Staff at the Dinosaur Park preparing for the Primevil event last year. Photo: Bill Smith

A poster featuring a clown's face dripping with blood to advertise a Halloween event at Dinosaur Par in Lenwade has been banned for making children 'very distressed'.

Staff at the Dinosaur Park prepare for the Primevil event. Photo: Bill Smith

Staff at the Dinosaur Park prepare for the Primevil event. Photo: Bill Smith

Twenty-three people complained about the poster, which was displayed in various locations around Norfolk in September and October, advertising the Primevil experience and featuring a blood-stained clown's face.

In its ruling the ASA noted that the Norfolk Dinosaur Park Ltd said they had received three complaints referring to a poster located at a Post Office, and had arranged for the poster to be removed within three days of the complaints having been received. They said at the same time they had reviewed where the posters were located throughout Norwich. Where they were close to schools or prime positions where young children may frequent, the posters were also removed. As a result, a total of 12 posters were removed out of the 34 initially placed.

They also said they had distributed leaflets containing the identical image, and had also used similar images in the past, and were not aware of any complaints arising from them.

But the ASA upheld the complaints saying: 'We considered that the overall presentation of the image was likely to distress young children, particularly but not only in combination with the text 'PRIMEVIL. SCREAMING WON'T HELP!' – which was presented as though it was written in blood.

'We considered the ad was likely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason when displayed in an untargeted medium, and concluded that it had been irresponsibly targeted.

'The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Norfolk Dinosaur Park Ltd to ensure that their marketing was responsibly targeted and did not cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.'