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MTV film competition ad banned for 'promoting risky behaviour'

Published 09/11/2016

The ad was run for an MTV competition to promote the film Nerve
The ad was run for an MTV competition to promote the film Nerve

An ad for an MTV competition promoting the film Nerve has been banned for encouraging behaviour that risked health or safety.

The television ad offered cash prizes for those who entered the competition to choose a dare and share it on MTV's social media.

It showed scenes from the movie, including a man on a skateboard holding on to the back of a moving car, a group of men jumping into the sea from a cliff, a man hanging from a crane, a man on a motorbike speeding through a red light, a woman walking across a ladder horizontally spanning the gap between two buildings, someone falling from a crane and a man lying between train tracks as a train passed over him.

A viewer complained that the ad, which was given a post-9pm scheduling restriction, condoned or encouraged dangerous practices.

MTV said it agreed with the scheduling restriction and had no further comment.

Ad clearance agency Clearcast said the 9pm restriction would keep the commercial away from children and that those who entered the competition were given a choice of relatively safe dares such as hugging a stranger or doing a victory dance at a bus stop.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the theme tapped into an ongoing trend in youth culture of young people challenging each other on social media into potentially dangerous behaviour, such as Neknominate and the Cinnamon Challenge.

It said: "We acknowledged the competition did not require participants to engage in any of the behaviour featured in the ad and that some scenes showed the negative consequences of such behaviour.

"However, we considered that in the context of youth culture around social media challenges, the ad's challenge to viewers to 'show some nerve' in accompaniment with the scenes of young people engaging in dangerous behaviour condoned, and was likely to encourage, behaviour that prejudiced health or safety."

The ASA acknowledged the 9pm restriction but said it should not have been broadcast at any time.

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about.

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