ASA bans Gestapo-like police advert

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Talk about ‘Big Brother is watching you’

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has once more come out as the surprising voice of reason, in banning a police advertisement that suggested people might be terrorists for indulging in perfectly normal behaviours. In the ad, a man says: "The man at the end of the street doesn’t talk to his neighbours much, because he likes to keep himself to himself. He pays with cash because he doesn’t have a bank card, and he keeps his curtains closed because his house is on a bus route." The listener (this is a radio ad) is then told: "If you suspect it, report it."

Fortunately, there were swiftly 18 complaints from listeners to the ASA, suggesting that not only could the ad be offensive to ordinary law-abiding citizens, it might also encourage people to harass or victimise their neighbours and was appealing to people’s fear. 

Perhaps ACPO believes every French citizen to be a terrorist. We all use cash here, not cards, and frankly, whether or not you keep your curtains closed is regarded as your own business. Shame on the UK police for coming up with such cobblers.

Anyone who thinks such an ad is not potentially harmful, I would suggest watches the series The Nazis – A Warning From History, particularly the interview with the lovely little old lady who had shopped her ‘lesbian-looking’ neighbour to the Gestapo for having ‘Jewish-looking friends’. That neighbour died – like thousands of others who had committed no crime – in a concentration camp, simply because of a neighbour’s nosy-parkering.




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