Men shooting at children means more complaints for Barnardo's

Thirteen people have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about Barnardo’s latest hard-hitting campaign, which shows a group of men shooting at children.

Barnardo's ad: hunters call children 'vermin'
Barnardo's ad: hunters call children 'vermin'

However, the watchdog is unable to pursue the grievances because the stark images are contained in a film on the children's charity's website rather than on paid advertising space.

The Children in Trouble campaign, which began yesterday, is intended to highlight how young people are demonised. It includes a 90-second online film showing a group of hunters firing shotguns at young people. The hunters use words posted on newspaper websites, such as "feral", to describe youths.

An ASA spokesman said most complainants found the film "offensive and upsetting". He added: "We will politely be informing them that this isn't something that falls under our remit."

A Barnardo's spokeswoman said the charity was "using the concept of people shooting as a metaphor to highlight the severe and irresponsible way in which society has begun to demonise children in the UK".

The campaign continues next week with a post 9pm-watershed TV advertisement.

Barnardo's has been at the forefront of controversial charity advertising in recent years.

Its Silver Spoon campaign in 2003, showing newborn babies with cockroaches and syringes sticking out of their mouths, generated 475 complaints, more than any in ASA history.

Last year the watchdog cleared a Barnardo's press advert showing a boy telling parents and social workers to "f**k off".

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