Jimmy Savile scandal adverts ruled offensive and harmful

Jimmy Savile
Adverts referring to Jimmy Savile were ruled offensive. Photo: Myung Jung Kim/PA Archive

Two adverts referring to Jimmy Savile have been ruled offensive and harmful following complaints they were distasteful in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations against the television personality.

Extreme Publishing sent an email that read "how's about that then" above an image of Savile wearing just his underwear and smoking a cigar while holding a superimposed copy of a magazine in his hand. Two people complained.

Another email from clothing company DirtySmart said "choose your fate" with arrows pointing to a cartoon image of Savile. One person complained.

DirtySmart admitted some people may have found the image distasteful but said they thought it would not cause serious or widespread offence.

Jimmy Savile
One advert said 'how's about that then' above an image of Savile in his underwear. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive

Extreme Publishing, trading as TBM Magazine, said it did not want to upset anyone by sending the email.

The Advertising Standards Authority said advertisers can refer to current news stories but should be careful with their use.

We considered that the overall tone of the ad was lighthearted and that that approach was likely to be seen as insensitive by its recipients when used in conjunction with references to Jimmy Savile, given the media climate at that time.

We also considered that, particularly in view of the email's subject line, the accompanying text and the large image of Jimmy Savile, who was seen reclining in an armchair wearing few clothes, it was likely to cause serious offence to some. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the code.

– The Advertising Standards Authority

In relation to DirtySmart, it said:

We considered the statement 'choose your fate' with a choice between clicking on the image of a Halloween pumpkin or Jimmy Savile was likely to be seen as insensitive by recipients and was likely to cause serious offence to some.

– The Advertising Standards Authority