A graphic Crimestoppers poster showing a human heart being held in a pair of bloody hands has been banned after people in Rugby complained.
The poster, which was seen on the station platform and on a phone box in Rugby, stated “BREAK YOUR SILENCE Don’t let drugs and violence rip the heart out of your community” and included an image of bloodied hands holding a heart.
Two complainants from people in Rugby challenged whether the advert was likely to cause distress, particularly to children, and it was therefore deemed inappropriate for outdoor display in an untargeted medium by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ad was banned on January 27.
The Advertising Standards Authority said: “Crimestoppers Trust said the campaign was designed in response to drug related violence, which was a problem in some local areas.
“It said, generally, people were reluctant to give information about such crime, either through fear or misguided loyalty, which was why they felt a hard-hitting image that would make people think and to prompt a response was required.
“It stated that the campaign in Warwickshire was launched following the success of a similar project run in the Ipswich area of Suffolk, to tackle the issue of gang related crime. The same artwork was used, but with different wording. The impact in Suffolk was significant and it did not receive any complaints.
“In light of that campaign, it felt it would be safe to use the same artwork and similar text to reach target areas in Warwickshire.
“In the three months that the campaign ran, it received 66 pieces of information regarding drug related crime, which accounted for over a third of all information received on crime in the county over that period.
“Crimestoppers acknowledged that the artwork could be perceived as controversial and were sorry that it had caused distress. It strove to walk the line between effective and potentially difficult imagery in the artwork they used, and said the last thing they wanted to do was alienate members of the public.
“JC Decaux, who owned the sites where the ads appeared, said the ads were not subject to any prohibitions and did not contravene local guidelines. They had not received any complaints directly about the ads.”