28 December 2012 - 2:26pm | posted by | 4 comments

Phones4U left red-faced after inappropriate sponsorship ident used during Channel 4 broadcast of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

Phones4U were the victims of an unfortunate piece of timing during Channel 4's broadcast of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' over Christmas. 

When the film headed towards a commercial break after a scene depicting a violent rape, viewers were greeted with by a sponsorship bumper for the mobile phone retailer in which a cheery woman who is making love leans towards the camera to reveal that she's "faking it".
It was an unfortunate juxtaposition and illustrated one of the hazards of this form of advertising. 

Some industry figures have previously suggested that it might make sense to suspend the bumper leading into an ad break in certain dramas as they can hit a jarring note if the preceding scene has emotional intensity and this example appears to underline the need for this approach when appropriate.

Speaking to The Drum earlier this year about the use of bumpers, Tess Alps executive chairman at Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, commented: "It's really hard to create sponsorship bumpers for dramas...we say to agencies and clients: 'don't try to do something at the end of a part as you go into the break' because usually there's some dramatic moment...somebody's died or a terrified child's just been found and we say to advertisers: 'you don't want to broadcast a jokey sponsorship bumper at that moment. 

"Do you know how offensive that is?'  If you don't appreciate the context in which people are watching then you have failed."

Phones4U have yet to reply to The Drum's request for a comment.


28 Dec 2012 - 15:10
alexcullens's picture

I struggle to believe that was accidental. Regardless of the obvious negative association that cutting to that ad during that scene has for Phones4U, I'd just like to say that their campaign is horrible – the ads are particularly annoying in themselves, regardless of where or how they're positioned. In the bumper slot they feel like a slap in the face, but maybe that's just me…

28 Dec 2012 - 15:19
MattWarrener's picture

During a Sky News ad break during the Joanna Yeates murder investigation in which the innocent Christopher Jefferies was door stepped, the first ad shown...Direct Line Landlord Insurance!

It makes you wonder sometimes!

29 Dec 2012 - 00:01
jasonstone's picture

@MattWarrener That's brilliant.

7 May 2013 - 13:36
empar13919's picture

Not quite as amazing as Channel 5's screw up with the Wonga ident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqO7cleMFus


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