UK independent watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a poster promoting the horror film Final Destination 5 from public transport following complaints from parents that it upset their children.
The poster, depicting a skull being speared by a number of iron rods, had been run on London Underground trains and on the sides of buses to advertise the latest instalment in the franchise, in which the central characters attempt to outrun death. It featured the strapline “It’s not if, it’s when”.
The ASA received 13 complaints claiming the poster was unsuitable for children, with some parents saying their young children had become noticeably upset when they saw the image.
Warner Bros, who make the Final Destination films, said the poster “accurately reflected the content of the film in an appropriate manner without causing fear or distress.”
The studio said the skull graphic was a “fantasy image” that did not feature “any real life or interpersonal violence.”
But the ASA banned the ad, saying “because very young children might view this ad depicting violence, it was likely to cause fear and undue distress.”
It’s not the first time movie posters have been banned from public transport in the UK.
In 2009, the campaign for Lesbian Vampire Killers was banned because the title was judged to be “sexually offensive”, while in 2005 the poster for horror film Creep, which depicted a bloody hand pressed up against a tube train window, was removed from London Underground stations.