“Look mummy, those people are kissing. I must now kill small animals”

Since when did kids get incredibly stupid? I’m talking about two advertising adjudications released by the Advertising Standards Authority yesterday.

Firstly, they state that a marmite advert should have an ‘ex-kids’ advertising restriction, because they received complaints that children between two and three had been ‘terrified by the advertisement’. You know the one: a large blob of marmite moves down a street, attracting and repulsing people in equal number. Because you either love it or hate it. The ‘ex-kids’ restriction means that it can’t be shown during any children’s programming, and broadcasters can choose whether to show them during shows like Pop Idol which attract a large number of younger viewers. I think this is pretty crazy. So what if kids are scared? Reasonably and logically, it’s a un-scary thing. If they’re scared it’s their own fault, surely? I don’t think this is a nanny state issue, I think it’s a taking-responsibility-for-your-kid’s-upbringing-issue. Every kid gets frightened, but getting older doesn’t magically stop it happening, does it? Surely experience and knowledge that scary things in fact aren’t is what helps us mature?

What do you think?

The other adjudication makes me laugh. Have you seen the Wanadoo advert with the teenagers running around the junkyard? You’ll likely remember it from the final scene, which shows a couple french-kissing in the back of a car. It’s been banned. Because…wait for it…of the ‘explicit kiss’, which was ‘much too graphic for the timing restriction…’, and that ‘it was irresponsible to show a car scrap-yard as an adventurous place to hang out with friends’. Well.

An ‘explicit kiss’? On the lips? What? What? How…what? How can a kiss be explicit? People are going to be corrupted how, exactly? I remember it being pretty gross, but what’s it going to cause? Will children vomit? Will they have nightmares? Will they go out and try it for themselves? Just how dumb are these supposed children? Does anybody know any? Were you one? As for advertising scrap-yards as adventurous places to be…well, clearly they’re not.

Saying that ‘everybody else does it’ isn’t a valid argument, but how about suggesting that kids get treated like they have a modicum of sense? Which, I think, they do. I’m not so bothered about the fact that these bans have been handed out. The ASA are doing exactly what they were set up to do. It’s the people who complained that interest me. Are they starved of attention? Stupid? Bored? How about we take their TVs away, as it’s for their own good that they don’t get offended any more.

My, that was a good rant, wasn’t it. Feels good now it’s out of my system. Phew.

UPDATE: Gotta love the BBC’s reaction to this.