A TV ad, for children's toys, shown on Disney XD, in the style of a game show featured five children in a TV studio, each standing at a podium. Voice-over and on-screen text stated, "It's round three of the Kre-O Big Build Challenge Finals." The voice-over continued, "We're down to our last two 10-year-old contenders." Photos of the contenders accompanied by their names "JACK", "KAI", "TY", "DANIEL" and "LEO" appeared on-screen in succession. The voice-over continued, "Today it's Leo." Leo said to camera, "My name's Leo and I'm from Lydd." The voice-over continued, "Leo is 10 years old and his favourite Kre-O build is Sentinel Prime. But his challenge this weekend will be to build Mirage against four other challengers in the hope of being crowned the Kre-O Big Build King and winning a load of awesome Kre-O prizes." A pack-shot and finished model were shown with on-screen text stating "BIG BUILD CHALLENGE: MIRAGE. BRICKS: 119. FEATURES: ROBOT & VEHICLE, MODES & KREONS. ESTIMATED BUILD TIME: 20 MINS. KREO-O CREATE IT". The ad then featured five split screens showing children building the toy figures and superimposed text stating "RRP £11.99". Further on-screen text stated "KRE-O BIG BUILD KING" with superimposed text stating "© Hasbro 2012 all rights reserved. © Oxford". The ad then showed a pack-shot of several Kre-O products.
The voice-over continued, "So, what does he reckon to Mirage?" Leo said to the camera, "It looks really hard and I think it's going to take me about half an hour." The voice-over continued, "And why does he think Kai's the guy to watch?" Leo replied, "I think he's going to win because he really loves Kre-O." During this exchange, the five contestants were shown on screen, and then just Leo and Kai. Superimposed text stated "Terms & Conditions apply. Bill payer's permission required. Minimum age 8". The voice-over continued, "We'll be the judge of that when we catch up with Kai tomorrow." The contestants were shown walking out to their podiums. The voice-over continued, "Meanwhile don't forget to go online for the chance to win Mirage plus loads of other amazing Kre-O prizes." This was accompanied by a pack-shot of several Kre-O products with the text "disney.co.uk/kreo". Superimposed text stated "RRP £8.99 to £39.99".
The voice-over concluded "And make sure you're right here on Disney XD this weekend as Leo goes head-to-head with the other hopefuls for round three of the Kre-O Big Build Challenge Finals". Each of the five contestants were shown in various poses. An end frame featured text stating "THIS WEEK ON Disney XD KRE-O BIG BUILD CHALLENGE FINALS ROUND 3."
The complainant, a TV scheduler whose children had mistakenly believed the ad was a TV programme, challenged whether the ad was obviously distinguishable from editorial content.
Disney XD (Disney) explained that the Kre-O Big Build Challenge ads were broadcast during commercial air time following their commercial separation idents on Disney XD. They said the ads were deemed to comply with the advertising Code by both Clearcast and their own compliance team and had the correct legal superimposed text. They explained that Clearcast had advised them that for the longer Final Big Build Challenge ads, they should include on-screen text stating "Advertisement" intermittently throughout the ad, although this was not necessary for the shorter ads, including the ad featuring Leo. Disney followed Clearcast's advice. The 60 second ads were aired in sequence over a regular period of time from Monday to Friday, whereas the 180 second ads were broadcast in a weekend spot. Disney said the ad was only aired once and they felt it was clear that the series of ads were commercial.
Hasbro (UK) Ltd (Hasbro) explained that they took care with their advertising and ensured their media agency gained the appropriate Clearcast approvals, which they had done in relation to the ad.
Clearcast did not believe the ad would be confused with programming because of the amount of Kre-O branding in the ad, the product pack-shots, the voiceover which talked about entering a competition and the associated legal superimposed text. In contrast, they had considered there may be confusion over the recognition of the 180 second ads in the campaign so they had requested Disney/Hasbro to include superimposed text stating "Advertisement". They explained that in the 180 second ads, there were long periods without any of the distinguishing content referred to above and due to their length, they may have looked like editorial content. They did not feel this was the case with the much shorter 60 second ads.
The ASA noted that the ad was in the style of a game show called Kre-O Big Build Challenge and featured five contestants who were all children. The purpose of the challenge was to build a particular Kre-O character as quickly as possible. The ad featured round three of the competition, which, we understood culminated in a "final" shown during the longer 180 second ads. We considered that because the ad was in the style of a game show and was part of a series of ads showing various rounds of the competition, it gave the overall impression that the ad was editorial content. We considered that the voiceover which stated towards the end of the ad "make sure you're right here on Disney XD this weekend as Leo goes head-to-head with the other hopefuls for round three of the Kre-O Big Build Challenge Finals" added to that impression.
We considered that although the ad featured pack-shots of Kre-O products, branding and on-screen text listing RRPs part-way through, this was insufficient in itself to make clear to viewers that the slot was an ad rather than editorial content. We noted, for example, that the RRPs were shown on-screen 20 seconds into the ad and the pack-shot of the product range 27 seconds in. We considered that other on-screen text such as "Terms and conditions apply. Bill payer's permission required. Minimum age 8" would not have made clear that the slot was an ad rather than editorial. We considered that the audience would not have quickly recognised the message as an advertisement and that it should have featured on-screen text stating "Advertisement" or similar intermittently throughout.
For these reasons, we concluded that the ad was not obviously distinguishable from editorial content.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 2.1 2.1 Advertisements must be obviously distinguishable from editorial content, especially if they use a situation, performance or style reminiscent of editorial content, to prevent the audience being confused between the two. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an advertisement. and 2.4.1 2.4.1 refer to themselves in a way that might lead viewers to believe they are watching a programme (Recognition of advertising), 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. and 5.8 5.8 Child actors may feature in advertisements but care must be taken to ensure that those advertisements neither mislead nor exploit children's inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty. (Children).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.