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Creepy #WorstFavour Halfords advert given all-clear despite complaints

Halfords #WorstFavour advert has been given all-clear by Advertising Standards Authority despite complaints over creepiness. 

A new television advert for Halfords has been given the all-clear by the ASA despite receiving a number of complaints from viewers who claim the advert is too creepy. For those that aren’t familiar with the #WorstFavour adverts, the gag is that Halfords can fix your car for you, without you needing to return a favour. 

In this particular advert, an older man named Bob is fitting a battery in young David’s car. Once the job is completed, David asks if he can “return the favour”. Bob then turns around, with a palette and a paintbrush, and says: “There is one thing. Pose for me David. I’m tired of painting you from memory.”

David nervously smiles, and the advert ends with the garage door slowly closing in on them. The Halfords gag is: “At Halfords we fit batteries in the car park from £6.99. Much cheaper than a favour.”

At the very end of the advert, we see a series of paintings and drawings of David, which we presume Bob has drawn. The camera focuses on one particularly striking painting of David, which shows him stripped to the waist, half man and half Greek centaur. 

The advert received 40 complaints, with viewers slamming the advert for being “sexually suggestive and imply[ing] that an older man was taking advantage of a younger man in a sexual way”. Other viewers even went as far to suggest the advert compared with Jimmy Saville and how “youngsters were groomed for sexually explicit pictures by paedophiles”.

The ASA, however, decided not to ban the advert. It stated: “The ASA understood that in an ad based on the theme of owing an unpleasant favour, an older man asking a younger man to pose for him could not be considered inappropriate.”

On the subject of peadophilia, the ASA said: “We considered that the overall tone of the ad was supposed to be light-hearted and surreal and, while Bob was noticeably older than David, David was clearly a grown man in his twenties.”

The ASA added: “Although we acknowledged that David looked uncomfortable at being asked to pose for Bob, it did not seem to be because he was concerned about Bob’s intentions or thought Bob was interested in him in a sexual way.

“Bob seemed shy and embarrassed when asking David to pose for him and we considered that David’s reaction was an awkward laugh of disbelief rather than one of fear or concern.”

Halford believed the advert was “light-hearted”, “surreal” and was supposed to be viewed in a “playful” manner. 

What do you think of the advert? Creepy or funny? Share your opinion in the comment box below. 

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