National Citizen Service radio advert 'did not encourage dangerous behaviour'

A report by the Advertising Standards Authority says the advert, which referred to 'jumping off cliffs', did not encourage young people to behave unsafely

National Citizen Service
National Citizen Service

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint that an advert by the NCS Trust encouraged dangerous behaviour.

A radio advert for the National Citizen Service, broadcast in September, included a voiceover that said: "Jade came home and was just so excited about it. Jumping off cliffs, getting in a canoe. Meeting new people from all over the country. NCS this, NCS that, and she's still going on about it now."

A listener complained that the reference to jumping off cliffs could encourage young people to behave unsafely.

According to a report published by the ASA today, the NCS Trust said its programme included a week away at an outdoor pursuits centre during which groups would undertake physical challenges and "safe adventures" designed to take them out of their comfort zones and overcome fears.

The trust said the activity referenced in the advert was "coasteering", the sport of coastal exploration, which included jumping off cliffs while wearing specialist safety equipment. This activity was supervised by experts, it said, and should not be confused with tombstoning, or jumping into water from a great height.

Radiocentre, the trade body for commercial radio companies in the UK, said the advert was aimed at the parents of teenagers and it did not believe that, taken in the context of the rest of the advert, would be taken as encouraging or condoning harmful or irresponsible behaviour.

In its assessment, the ASA noted that "a number of people" had been killed or seriously injured in the UK as a result of tombstoning, but concluded that in the context of the advert it was clear that the activity would have taken place as part of an organised activity.

"We did not consider that the reference to ‘jumping off cliffs’ would be interpreted as condoning or glamorising the practice of ‘tombstoning’ and the absence of safety precautions that were associated with it," the ASA’s report says.

"We therefore concluded that the ad did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health or safety."

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