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Advertising Standards Authority Levi's

Levi ad featuring models holding lit fireworks banned for encouraging unsafe practices


By The Drum Team, Editorial

February 1, 2012 | 2 min read

An advert for Levi jeans featuring three models holding lit fireworks has been banned by the ASA following a complaint that the ad was harmful and irresponsible, because it might encourage young people to play with fireworks.

Levi said that the ad, created by Weiden + Kennedy, was part of their 'Go Forth' campaign, which was targeted at men and women over the age of 20 years and the ad did not appear in any media targeted at children. The company explained that the fireworks were designed to be used safely when held vertically, as depicted in the ad, and the models were also shown standing at least two metres apart.

Mixmag, the magazine in which the ad appeared, said it took the view that, because the models were on a beach looking across a bay, that they were holding marine flares.

The ASA understood that the fireworks were designed to be hand held, but considered that that would not be clear to readers, who would simply see young people holding lit fireworks.

The advertising standards body said: “We noted the ad appeared in late October around the time of Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali, all of which were commonly celebrated with fireworks. We also considered that the text in the ad, which included "YOUR EPITAPH IS YOURS TO EARN" and "YOUR LEGACY IS YOURS TO MAKE", encouraged risk taking and daring and, combined with the picture of what looked like youngsters holding lit fireworks, was likely to appeal to some young adults as an act of bravado.

“We considered that the ad was likely to be seen as showing the harmful practice of holding lit fireworks and, given the potential for easy emulation especially at that time of year, concluded that it condoned and encouraged an unsafe practice.”

Advertising Standards Authority Levi's

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