LONDON DUNGEON Ad – BANNED!

By on 14 July, 2010


An advert showing a moving image of Tudor QUEEN MARY turning into a flesh-eating zombie has been banned after complaints that it scared children.

The digital image of ‘Bloody Mary‘, the Roman Catholic daughter of King Henry VIII, who burnt over 300 heretics at the stake during her reign, appeared on the side of London underground escalators to promote a London Dungeon exhibition.

It shows Mary calmly seated and then turning to face the viewer, with wide eyes and a silent scream. Her face changes ghoulishly; gashes appear, her teeth rot and her eyes turn red. She then resumes her original passive position as her face returned to normal.


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received four complaints that the ad was inappropriate as the sudden change of expression was likely to frighten children. They ruled in favour of the complaints, saying that the poster should not be used again in its current form as it had “terrified” children and breached fear and distress guidelines.

Speaking about their decision to ban the ad, they said:

“We considered that the morphing image, and the juxtaposition of a calm face with a very scary one, were likely to startle and frighten young children.”

“We noted the switch between the passive and frightening face occurred suddenly and unexpectedly, which could increase the shock value.

“We also considered that when the face morphed into the scary character, the bloody gashes, white flesh, rotting teeth, red eyes and the threatening expression meant it was not suitable for young children to see.

“We were of the view that the ad seemed to be setting out to scare and had overstepped the limit of acceptability in doing so because, although not frightening for adults, the image was likely to be shocking to young children and to cause them fear or distress without good reason.

“We concluded that the ad was inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium.”


Defending the ad, Merlin Entertainments said:

“The object of the advertising was to show the dark side of her personality and portray her as a villain.”

Looking at the aim of the creative brief, I’d say Merlin Ents hit the nail on the head! Wouldn’t you say?

About Ed Bonilla

Ed is an entertainment news writer, and founder of TOMORROW'S NEWS. He always keeps a watchful eye on who and what's trending in the entertainment world. His articles focus on tomorrow's news today, including celebrity news, film news, music news and so much more!

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