Gillette ad banned after complaints over 9/11 similarities

LONDON - A Gillette TV ad showing a man running from an office that is about to be demolished by a wrecking ball has been banned after 159 viewers complained that it was reminiscent of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The spot, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, includes a scene where the man runs down a dust-filled stairwell as the building is being torn apart behind him.

The commercial was promoting the deodorant brand Gillette Right Guard and featured a TV presenter commentating on the man's progress.

Appearing first in early September, the ad appeared close to the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, prompting viewers to complain that the timing was inappropriate and that it was too reminiscent of the disaster.

AMV responded to complaints by amending the ad and taking out the stairwell scene. The ad was also taken off the air on September 7, with the intention of replacing it with a cut-down version on September 22.

However, the Independent Television Commission said that further complaints had been received since the new version aired and that it was the whole theme of the ad that was upsetting viewers. It therefore judged that the two longer versions of the ad caused significant offence.

Almost 3,000 people were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, including 67 Britons.

The ad was written by Richard Morgan and art directed by Simon Langley. The spot was directed by Happy through Arden Sutherland.

AMV was also behind the most complained about television ad to date -- the spot for Wrigley's Xcite chewing gum, which showed a man regurgitating a dog.

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