Chris Moyles Radio X 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' ad cleared by ASA despite more than 100 complaints

Global's Radio X launch ad, which featured Chris Moyles pushing past people as he walked down the street in a parody of The Verve's 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' video, has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority despite receiving over 100 complaints around its "anti-social" positioning.

The pastiche shows Moyles bumping into a number of people, including a passer-by holding a coffee, a man in a bunny costume and a paramedic pushing a patient on stretcher.

106 viewers protested that the spot condoned anti-social and violent behaviour and that it was inappropriately scheduled for broadcast at times when children may be watching, but the ASA cleared the ad on all counts.

The watchdog said the campaign was "unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to encourage or condone anti-social behaviour or bullying."

The ASA said it acknowledged Global’s "intention to parody what they believed to be a well-recognised and iconic music video."

It asserted that the scenario presented in tongue-in-cheek clip was "likely to be seen as surreal."

"We acknowledged that his actions in the ad were likely to be seen as unpleasant, but we considered that the context in which it was shown meant viewers were unlikely to interpret it as realistic and as an acceptable way to behave," said the authority.

Global Radio said the ad was absurd humour was “common in children’s programmes and family films," and pointed out that the video was given an "ex-kids” restriction meaning it wasn't scheduled during or around children’s shows.

The company followed advice from ad clearance firm Clearcast, which recognised "the possibility the ad might offend some viewers but felt confident that the exaggerated and comical nature of behaviour was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to under-18s who might see it."

Radio X courted controversy at the time of its launch after it positioned itself as the "first truly male-focused" radio station for the 25-44 age bracket.