A movie trailer advertising Roadshow’s horror film The Nun has been banned by the Ad Standards Bureau (ASB).
The ad in question, titled “Coffin”, features a possessed man “flying across the room”, a demonic nun and is accompanied by “creepy, petrifying” noises.
The TVC appeared on free to air networks during August and September.
The complaint to the ASB said the ad should not have appeared on daytime television “where it can be viewed by children and others who wish to not see such things”.
The complainant said: “The trailer and image were extremely terrifying. The trailer contained scary noises and frightening scenes. The image was graphic and petrifying.
“It’s advertising a horror movie and is just disgusting. The add makes myself and my wife feel extremely anxious. Neither myself nor my wife wish to view this sort of material while we are watching a movie.
“We also have young children that could be awake at that time. We shouldn’t have to scramble for the remote/jump from our sofa to change the channel or turn off the TV or hide our children while watching TV.
“The ad was disturbing in nature, and given the type of movie I was watching, I was not expecting or prepared to be exposed to such disturbing content.
“It should not be allowed to be advertised before 10 pm. My children were watching television and the advertisement popped up suddenly. This is terrible and should be advertised much later at night.”
Meanwhile, Roadshow Film defended the ad, claiming it did not breach standards.
“The TV spots contain no discriminatory material, exploitative or degrading material, strong or obscene language, nudity, or material contrary to health and safety standards.”
However, the ASB ruled in favour of the complainant and determined the ad had breached several advertising codes.
“The Panel noted the complainants’ concern that the advertisement is vilifying of nuns and those of the Catholic faith.”
“The Panel considered that the advertisement did not depict blood, gore, or any material of a graphic nature.”
“The Panel acknowledged that some level of menace is justifiable in the context of advertising a horror movie, however, considered that the level of menace in this advertisement exceeded the amount which most members of the community would consider to be appropriate.”
The ASB found the ‘Coffin’ TVC had breached ad codes and banned it from airing on 8 September onwards.
This is not the first time ads for The Nun were subject to complaints.
In August, YouTube was forced to pull a spot featuring a nun flashing to the screen.
At the time, YouTube said the ad “violates our shocking content policy and it’s no longer running as an ad.”
YouTube’s own advertising policy (which you can read here) also states that ads featuring “violent language, gruesome or disgusting imagery, or graphic images or accounts of physical trauma” as well as promotions “that are likely to shock or scare” are not allowed.