Around Halloween time, just about everything gets spookier. From store displays, to TV programming, October's implied theme is: grim. And while most of the world's participation in the holiday is harmless, it's bound to go a little too far, here and there. This year, Spotify is in the hot seat after the a Spotify ad was banned from UK television after it was deemed "too scary" by a UK-based watchdog group. I have to admit, I personally didn't even know there was a forum to complain about advertisements being too scary, which is probably a good thing because as a self-professed scaredy-cat, I absolutely would have blown up that hotline over the course of my childhood. And my adulthood.
According to the UK's Advertising Standards Association, the ad is considered to have apparently “unjustifiably caused children distress." The jurisdiction was made after a complaint was filed by a parent whose children viewed the ad while on the popular and mostly child-friendly gaming page, Hello Neighbor. According to the report, as documented on Gizmodo, the ad has been banned from UK television now after the ASA deemed it "too scary."
According to Spotify in a statement, they are acknowledging the decision of the Advertising Standards Authority, and regret any distress the ad may have caused: "We acknowledge the ruling from the ASA and regret any distress the ad may have caused the complainant. It was created as a tongue-in-cheek horror parody – intended to be a humorous ad that demonstrated just how catchy some tracks can be. We take our responsibilities as a marketer very seriously and continue to be mindful of the ASA's guidance on the effective and appropriate targeting of advertising campaigns."
I know, I know: you're dying to know what could possibly happen in this ad to cause so much drama, so here's a quick recap in case you're too spooked to actually watch it. The ad begins with a group of young adults hanging out in a house, getting ready for the day with a "Wake Up Playlist" that comes on featuring the fun and funky "Havana" song by Camila Cabello. Immediately after the song starts to play, a classic horror soundtrack starts to creep in. At the six second mark of the 30 second spot, a white-masked horror doll comes to life on the couch amidst an ominous swell of music that raises over Cabello's song. From there, the doll goes on a rampage and terrifies everyone who plays that song.
If you're curious, hit play below:
For horror movie fans, this ad may be all too short — and for those who get scared at mere shadows, all too long. As you might expect, Reddit users have some choice words about the debacle:
Coming Soon To Netflix?
No seriously though, is this ad going to get converted into a limited series or movie for Netflix or what?
Not The Scariest Part
It's a fair point, I mean why are these people living together? And why does it seem like they're playing a wake up playlist at like 5 p.m., we need some context clarification!
No Different Than Everything Else Out There
A lot of people are certainly thinking this, and while it might be true, it doesn't necessarily excuse the oversight.