GoCompare has been scolded by the ad watchdog after the parent of a young child, who aped the actions its cash-guzzling Monster Bill by eating coins, complained that the ad was too dangerous to be shown during kids’ programmes.
In the ad, a woman is shocked to find the small Monster Bill eating the cash from her neighbour’s purse. The neighbour explains that the monster is her home insurance bill, to which the woman exclaims: “It’s eating all your money.”
A parent, who said their four-year-old child swallowed coins after watching the ad for the comparison site, complained that young kids could emulate it, sparking an Advertising Standards Authority investigation.
In response, GoCompare said that while there was a clear difference between swallowing coins and Monster Bill eating fake paper money, it was concerned by the complainant’s experience and “would never wish for that to happen”.
In its ruling, the ASA said it was concerned that the ad might encourage young children to attempt to swallow money themselves, which was “a dangerous practice to emulate”. “As such, while we acknowledged that the ad was suitable for older children, there was a risk that the ad would cause harm to younger children,” it said.
It ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form before 7.30pm.
A spokeswoman from GoCompare said: “Our advert – featuring ‘Monster Bill’ – was never designed to appeal to children, and while we believe it is unlikely that the advert would influence a child to copy the character, we understand the concern and are happy to apply the 7.30pm time restriction.
“Monster Bill represents the money that is being needlessly spent on overlooked insurance and energy bills, and we are currently exploring new ways to depict the way that Monster Bill wastes people’s hard-earned money. We are open to suggestions from our customers too.”
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