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TV ad glorifies the unacceptable use of fireworks

1 November 2007

TV ad glorifies the unacceptable use of fireworks, says emergency services

An animated television commercial that shows a child firing a sky rocket at his friend’s head, a letterbox being destroyed with a ‘sparkler bomb’ and a child lighting a ‘double happy’ cracker which he’s holding in his mouth, has been labeled dangerous and socially irresponsible by the three emergency services.

The ad for soft drink maker, Charlie’s, which features the voice of their spokesperson and television celebrity, Marc Ellis, has been running in the lead-up to Guy Fawkes, one of the busiest times of the year for emergency services.

Acting Fire Service National Commander, Paul McGill, said that during last year’s official Guy Fawkes period, the Fire Service attended over 1,700 callouts to house, vegetation and nuisance fires caused by inappropriate or careless use of fireworks. This represented a three-fold increase on normal callouts. He added that the Police also had to respond to 1,500 fireworks related public nuisance complaints and the St John Ambulance service attends a number of injuries every year, some serious, caused by fireworks.

“The last thing emergency services need, particularly at this time of the year, is a tv and web campaign that highlights and promotes the type of incidents we spend far too much of our time responding to.” The government has responded to fireworks concerns raised by emergency services last year by increasing the age of purchase, reducing the purchase period and banning individual sales of sparklers in 2007.

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“We’re optimistic these changes will see a decrease in the number of calls Fire, Police and Ambulance respond to over Guy Fawkes, says Mr McGill. “So it’s really disappointing that an advertiser will use this occasion to produce a commercial that glorifies behaviour that was unacceptable 20 years ago and is unacceptable today.”

The three emergency services are calling on Charlie’s management to show some community responsibility by voluntarily removing the ad. An official objection has been made to the Advertising Standards Authority.


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