Science World ad deemed too violent for TV
Rob Easton, CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, August 22, 2014 4:05PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, August 22, 2014 8:03PM PDT
The regulator for television advertisements in Canada has banned the latest TV spot from Vancouver’s popular Science World attraction because they deemed it too violent.
The 30-second spot features a man getting hit in the face with a newspaper, kicked in the groin, and shot in the back with a flaming arrow, among other torments.
The man maintains a beaming grin throughout the pummeling, and the ad ends by revealing "Optimists feel less pain."
“It’s the continuation of a series of ads that go back seven or eight years now called ‘Now you know,'” said Morgan Tierney, a copywriter at Rethink, the ad agency behind the spot.
“Every year we try to find the most interesting science facts we can come up with. It turns out that people who have a positive outlook on life in general or identify themselves as positive people, actually perceive less pain.”
The ad was meant to demonstrate that fact in a fun and creative way, but the regulators at the Television Bureau of Canada apparently didn't appreciate the humour.
“They itemized everything that happens in the script and said, ‘Change it,'” said Tierney.
In the end they decided to keep the ad as is and opted to post it online instead, feeling changes required by the regulator would dilute the ad's scientific message.
The spot comes just one year after another series of controversial Science World ads for the "Science of Sexuality" exhibit were pulled from bus shelters.
Those ads caught the public’s attention due to their sexually suggestive images and slogans. One showed a naked man on top of a naked woman whose legs are in casts, along with the message "Orgasms can kill pain."
“Science World has a reputation for being a risk-taker as a client and that’s a big asset to them. If you’re a nonprofit like they are, you want to reach people. You have to stand out from the background. They do a great job of taking smart risks with their creative,” said Tierney.
While the ads do push the boundaries of what is allowed in Canadian commercials, they potentially will reach a wider audience via YouTube, according to Rethink art director Felipe Mollica.
“We live in a day and age where the internet is a huge part of our lives and anything that doesn’t get to air through the traditional means, can go on the internet. At the end of the day it works in our favour,” he said.