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ASA clears Chris Moyles Radio X ad despite more than 100 complaints
Promo featuring DJ bumping into people is pastiche of Bittersweet Symphony video by the Verve

A TV ad featuring Radio X DJ Chris Moyles shoving people as he walks down the street has been cleared by the advertising watchdog despite receiving more than 100 complaints that it encouraged antisocial and violent behaviour.

The TV and video-on-demand ad, part of a major campaign to promote the rebranding of Xfm to Radio X, featured Moyles rudely bumping into people including a man holding a cup of coffee, a charity worker in a giant rabbit costume, a paramedic and a woman holding a cake.

The ad, a pastiche of the music video of the Verve’s 1997 song Bittersweet Symphony, ends with the former BBC Radio 1 DJ walking through a wall into the Radio X studio.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 106 complaints that the ad was offensive, irresponsible and encouraged antisocial and violent behaviour. Some believed that it was inappropriate for children to watch.

Global Radio, the parent company of Radio X, said that the majority of viewers would realise it was a parody of the Verve’s track. The company added that it was a play on Moyles’s reputation and his determination to “get into the music and return to radio”.

Global Radio said the ad was slapstick humour that was “common in children’s programmes and family films”. It was given an “ex-kids” restriction which means it did not air during, or around, children’s programmes.

The ASA said some viewers were unlikely to recognise that the TV ad was a parody of the Verve’s music video, even though it used the song as its soundtrack.

“While recognisable as an ordinary street, we considered the scenario in which [Moyles] found himself was likely to be seen as surreal and far removed from the mix of people many were likely to encounter when walking down a street,” said the ASA.

“We acknowledged that his actions in the ad were likely to be seen as unpleasant, but we considered that the context in which it was shown meant viewers were unlikely to interpret it as realistic and as an acceptable way to behave. In the particular circumstances of the ad, we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen to encourage or condone antiocial behaviour or bullying.”
Aled Haydn Jones. Head Of Radio 1.

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