A TV ad for a ride at a theme park showed two children waking up in bunk beds in the middle of the African plain before running and getting into a truck. A dramatic voice-over stated "Chessington World of Adventures presents, new for 2013, a ride into the wild. ZUFARI". The truck was shown driving past some zebras, a giraffe, some antelopes and a rhino in their natural habitat. The voice-over then stated "Expect the unexpected" and a tree fell in front of the truck forcing the driver to stop suddenly and proceed down an 'off road' track. The truck was shown driving over a sign stating "Danger! Cave" and heading towards the mouth of a cave. The ad ended with an animated logo and a voice-over stating "Go wild at Chessington World of Adventures Resort."
The complainant, who had gone on the ride with her child, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it could lead to children having unrealistic expectations of the experience of the ride.
Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd (Chessington) maintained that the African savannah depicted in the ad and the warning to 'expect the unexpected' was not misleading. They said the ad showcased the various exotic creatures that featured in the actual ride experience: a white rhino, giraffes, zebra, ostriches, several species of antelope and flamingos.
They felt the ad clearly depicted a heightened sense of reality, which was evidenced from the outset when the brother and sister characters awoke in a bunk bed in the middle of an African plain with the sun rising over distant mountains. They believed that references used in the ad were obvious and commonplace references to Africa, as used in children's films and nature documentaries. Due to the hyperbolic nature of the depiction of the experience, they felt that the ad clearly did not literally depict the actual ride experience, rather a representation of it.
They explained that everyone who went on the ride was encouraged to leave feedback of their experience, and provided evidence that over a 13-week period, respondents gave the ride an average 8.93 out of 10, with 76% of all respondents rating the experience a 9 or 10 out of 10. This was based on a sample size of approximately 868 people.
Clearcast said that they had advised Chessington that all elements shown in the ad needed to be included in the attraction so that people would not be misled. Clearcast considered the imagery featured in the ad sufficiently epic to be clear that the setting was a metaphor, and that the ride was only analogous of Africa.
They were satisfied that the setting used creative licence to give the feeling of a faraway fantasy place, and they felt the research showed that people were very happy with the experience of the ride, which they believed would not be the case if they had been misled by the ad. They felt that one complaint was not symptomatic of people being misled or children having unrealistic expectations.
The ASA understood that the complainant felt that the animals and setting depicted in the ad did not match her experience of the ride, and that her 8-year-old daughter believed that things that were included in the ad did not feature in the ride, such as thunder and lightning and a falling tree. We also noted that the ad contained very little footage of the actual ride, which might have helped viewers understand what could reasonably be expected from it.
However, we were satisfied that the ad was visibly set in Africa and was intended to be viewed as a fantastical depiction of the experience, rather than a literal portrayal of the ride. We considered this depiction would be understood by children, especially as the opening scene showed the children in the ad waking from their bunk beds in the middle of the African plain.
We were satisfied that the animals featured in the ad also featured in the ride. Having viewed footage of the ride that was filmed prior to its opening, we agreed that the warning to "expect the unexpected" was justified, as the safari truck in the actual ride took a mysterious detour, as suggested in the ad; albeit without the dramatisation of the thunder and lightning.
Overall, we concluded that the portrayal of the ride in the ad was unlikely to lead to children having unrealistic expectations of the experience of the ride.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Standards set to secure the standards objectives [specified in para 3(e) above] shall in particular contain provision designed to secure that religious programmes do not involve:
a) any improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of the audience for such a programme; or
b) any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination."
Section 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. 6). (Misleading Advertising), 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), 3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service. (Exaggeration) and 5.7 5.7 Advertisements must not take advantage of children's inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty. Advertisements for products or services of interest to children must not be likely to mislead; for example, by exaggerating the features of a product or service in a way that could lead to children having unrealistic expectations of that product or service. (Children) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.