The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled in favour of DeadHappy after a complainant alleged a TV ad trivialised the cost of living crisis.
The regulator acknowledged some viewers would question the advert’s tone, but ultimately decided it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
DeadHappy is renowned for its controversial advertising approach and was told by the ASA to avoid causing “serious or widespread” offence earlier this year after banning two life insurance ads it placed depicting notorious serial killer Dr Harold Shipman which attracted 115 complaints.
And in the summer of 2021 the life insurance provider revealed it worked with TV advertising governing body Clearcast over its campaign carrying the slogan ‘Please Die Responsibly’.
But the latest complaint brought against the provider has proven unsuccessful.
The complaint related to a cartoon style advert depicting two men discussing life insurance.
One of the men was sat on a sofa wearing outdoor winter clothing including a coat, hat, mittens, earmuffs and holding a hot water bottle, and the second was standing holding a laptop displaying a website with the DeadHappy logo.
The living room appears to be cold, with icicles hanging from the seated man’s nose and the room’s fixtures, and penguins were shown walking through the darkened hallway in the background wearing head torches.
One of the men tells the other to switch the light off as he is not “made of money”, to which the other explains that “DeadHappy’s life insurance is really affordable” and asks “what’s more important than making sure your loved ones are looked after if you snuff it?”
The complainant in this case challenged whether the advert was offensive because it trivialised the concerns of those who could not afford to heat their home.
DeadHappy said the aim of the advert was to empathise with the audience, while delivering a serious message about affordability in hard times presented in an exaggerated comedic scenario that was ultimately light-hearted in tone, as demonstrated by the imagery used, which included a room featuring icicles and penguins, while also still maintaining an earnest element.
Ruling in favour of DeadHappy, the ASA noted the animated production style of the advert and while acknowledging some viewers would question its tone, it said the extremity of the imagery used had given a comedic tone and did not go as far as trivialising the difficulties of those negatively affected by the cost of living crisis.
Consequently, the ASA ruled that the advert did not trivialise the concerns of those who were struggling to heat their homes and was therefore not likely to cause serious or widespread offence and did not breach its code, so no further action was necessary.