Warner Bros. has been cautioned for including an advert for It: Chapter Two in a Spotify playlist aimed at children.
Right in the middle of a series of bedtime lullabies on the streaming app the voice of Pennywise The Clown could be heard in full evil mode, warning the attempting to sleep little kiddywinks:
“For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you. Oh I missed you.”
This was followed by the sound of the clown cackling.
This comes after complaints that the billboard for the movie was scaring younger children.
In the UK it was the subject of an official complaint leading to the Advertising Standards Authority to rule:
“We considered those elements meant the ad was likely to cause distress to young children, and that it should have been appropriately targeted to avoid the risk of them hearing it.
“We considered that the playlist was designed primarily to be played to and therefore likely to be heard by young children. Spotify provided no explanation as to why an ad targeted using the parameter ‘Real Time Genre is not Children’ had been played during a playlist designed to be heard by young children.
We therefore considered that although Warner Bros had taken steps to target the ad responsibly, because it appeared around content that was likely to be heard by young children, the ad had been inappropriately targeted.”
Slap on the wrist for both Warner’s and Spotify. Sleepless nights and lifelong clown phobia for a number of kids. The ASA went on:
“We told Warner Bros. Entertainment UK Ltd to ensure that future ads that were unsuitable for children did not appear in media which was designed primarily for children.”
Warner Bros. Entertainment UK Ltd told the ASA the ad reflected themes of the It:Chapter Two movie and was intended to invoke feelings of suspense in the listener. They said the ad might have been perceived as mildly scary, but it avoided violence, offensive language, gore and elements of the film which might have been considered overly scary.
They claimed they used the parameters “Age is 18-44” and “Real Time Genre is not Children” (also known as “No Kids Music”) to ensure the ad was appropriately targeted.
Spotify said they believed the parameters used by Warner Bros to target the ad were appropriate and that they did not believe the playlist was designed primarily for children.