The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority has accused Universal Pictures of breaching violence guidelines with two posters for Wanted, and has ordered that they not appear again.
Of course, the campaign is over, so the decision doesn’t have much effect on the promotion of the movie, loosely based on the miniseries by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones.
In an adjudication report posted today on its website, the self-regulatory agency of the U.K. advertising industry ruled the posters could be seen to glamorize the use of guns and violence. (One of the posters in question can be seen above.)
“We acknowledged most viewers would understand the posters reflected the content of an action film,” the ASA states in its report. “However, we considered, that because the ads featured a glamorous actress, action poses, several images of or related to guns and aspirational text, they could be seen to glamorise the use of guns and violence. We concluded ads (a) and (b) could be seen to condone violence by glorifying or glamorising the use of guns.”
The ASA is an independent group funded by voluntary levies on advertising costs.
According to the organization, seventeen people filed complaints objecting to the ads “because they glorified and glamorised gun crime. They felt the ads condoned or were likely to provoke violence or antisocial behaviour.” Of those, seven felt they were unsuitable to be viewed by children. And seven thought the posters “were offensive at a time of increasing public concern about gun crime.”
Universal responded that the posters reflected the movie’s comic-book roots, and the campaign was restricted so the images would not appear near schools or “other areas of sensitivity.”
The APA upheld complaints that the posters were not suitable to be viewed by children because they could be interpreted to condone violence. However, it felt that most members of the public would realize the guns reflected the content of the film and, therefore, “unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”