An MTV-branded ad in partnership with Lionsgate film Nerve has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for condoning and even encouraging young people to film themselves taking part in dangerous activities as it challenged viewers to “show some nerve”.
The ad, which ran in August, promoted an MTV competition in anticipation of the release of Nerve, which gave viewers the chance to win a cash prize by sharing a video of them undertaking a dare.
The film featured a series of high-risk scenes including a skateboarder holding onto the back of a moving car, a man on a motorbike speeding through a red light, a woman walking across a ladder horizontally spanning the gap between two buildings, someone falling from a crane, and a man lying between train tracks as a train passed over him.
The ASA noted that various scenes had the appearance of being filmed on mobile phones, including some which featured overlaid graphics to look like video clips on social media.
The ASA said the theme tapped into an ongoing trend in youth culture of young people challenging each other on social media into potentially dangerous behaviour, such as ‘Neknominate’ and the ‘Cinnamon Challenge’.
Clearcast did not consider the competition to be irresponsible as the scheduling restriction ensured it would be kept away from young people, as it was given a 9pm scheduling restriction, and the competition itself did not encourage dangerous behaviour.
The watchdog ruled that because the ad both condoned dangerous practices and was likely to encourage viewers, particularly teenagers and young adults, to engage in dangerous practices via its call to viewers to "show some nerve," it should not have been broadcast at any time.