A TV ad featured various scenes from the film "Bullet to the Head" including Sylvester Stallone shooting a gun and blowing up vehicles. Another scene showed Stallone and another man preparing to fight each other with axes. Stallone was also shown kicking something aggressively and aiming and shooting a gun at something off-screen. The voice-over stated, "On February 1st, it's killer versus killer. Sylvester Stallone is back to his best. Bullet to The Head. In cinemas February 1st."
Seven complainants objected that the ad was inappropriately scheduled at a time when it might be seen by children.
Entertainment One UK Ltd (Entertainment One) stated that they worked closely with Clearcast to create a version of the ad with an "Ex kids" restriction in order that it could be broadcast during sports programming. They understood that this vetting process would ensure compliance with the BCAP Code.
Clearcast said the ad was given an ex-kids restriction and that this was achieved after a lot of editing of versions of the ad which had been given a post 21.00 or a post 19.30 restriction. They believed this was an appropriate restriction and was in line with offerings from other stars like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwartzenegger which had recently been approved.
We noted the ad was given an ex-kids restriction which meant it should not be broadcast around programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to persons below the age of 16. Whilst the complainants reported that their children had seen the ad during sports programming, football matches and other programming, audience figures for those programmes showed that the vast majority of viewers were over 16. We therefore considered that the given restriction had been correctly applied by the broadcasters.
The ad featured an actor made famous during action films of the 1980s. We considered that whilst the film might have been of particular appeal to viewers who had watched those films during that decade, he would be unfamiliar to any children who may be watching and therefore the film and the ad were unlikely to be of appeal to them.
The ad featured images of shooting, fighting and explosions and whilst they were presented realistically, the images were fleeting and no one was shown to be physically hurt through any of the actions. We acknowledged that some viewers found the ad unsuitable for broadcast when their children were watching, but concluded that the ex-kids restriction was sufficient.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 32.3 32.3 Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them. (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.