Barnardo's advert vindicated

Advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about a Barnardo's ad that included the f-word partly obscured with asterisks.

The ad, which appeared in The Times and The Daily Telegraph, showed an image of a young boy’s face with the wording: “He told his parents to f**k off. He told his foster parents to f**k off. He told fourteen social workers to f**k off. He told us to f**k off. But we didn’t. And we still haven’t.”

The version run in the Telegraph featured the same text but with “f***” instead of “f**k”.

Two complainants claimed that the language in the ads was offensive, but the ASA found in Barnardo’s favour.

The children's charity said it had chosen to imply a swear word in the ad because it wanted to reflect the reality and attitudes of young people with whom they worked. The charity maintained that the ad showed it was not deterred by bad language and would look beyond aggressive behaviour to see the potential in every child.

The ASA report concluded: “The ad had appeared in newspapers with a predominantly adult readership and both the Telegraph and The Times had received only one direct complaint. We considered that readers would realise that the ad was intentionally hard-hitting to reflect the realities of the situations Barnardo’s workers had to deal with regularly.

“We considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to readers of The Times or the Telegraph.”

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