British Heart Foundation advert among 10 most complained about

It attracted 219 complaints, which were rejected by the advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority

The BHF advert
The BHF advert

An advertisement by the health charity the British Heart Foundation was the sixth most-complained-about advert in 2015, according to figures from the Advertising Standards Authority.

The advert, which was called "Heart disease is heartless" and featured on television, video-on-demand and in cinemas, showed a boy sitting in a classroom talking to his father, who had died from a heart attack.

The ASA said in a statement accompanying its list of the top 10 most-complained-about adverts of 2015, published today, that complainants had considered the advert "distressing" for adults and children to see.

The advert attracted 219 complaints, but these were not upheld by the advertising watchdog, which noted that it had not been scheduled to appear around children’s programming and, although some people might find the advert upsetting, it was unlikely to cause widespread distress.

The most-complained-about advert, receiving 1,513 complaints, was one from the website, which featured a man walking down a street and dancing in high heels and denim shorts.

The travel website occupied the second, fourth and seventh slots in the top 10 due to three adverts that included a play on the word "booking" in place of a swear word. 

The complaints against all four of these adverts were rejected.

Carolan Davidge, director of marketing and engagement at the BHF, said: "We’re sorry some individuals found our advert distressing because this was not our intention. The tone of the TV advert was chosen to reflect the sad reality that heart disease can be an unexpected and unsparing condition that can affect anybody."

She added that it was vitally important for the charity to highlight the issue of heart disease to help raise awareness and fund research into the condition.

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