Superdry "extreme" ad draws watchdog criticism

Superdry doesn’t usually fall foul of the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority but a video ad it released this autumn has now been banned after it was deemed to be irresponsible.


Hosted by Facebook, it featured free-runner Harry Gallagher (also known as Nightscape) with the star of the show seen walking along a steel girder above a city.

But cool as it may have looked, the ASA decided that it was “socially irresponsible”, encouraged “unsafe practise” and was “harmful and irresponsible”.

It said the ad mustn’t appear again in the form that was complained about and that the company shouldn’t allow its marketing campaigns to encourage unsafe actions.

It’s a fairly blunt assessment of the video that follows the parkour practitioner and a friend as they travel to the top of the high-rise building while showing snatches of Superdry clothing and accessories.

With the tagline Urban Explorer, the video ends with a view from between one of the men’s legs as they dangle precariously high above the city streets.

Superdry said at the time that the video was celebrating its range of jackets and that it had worked with “a team of extreme creators and asked them to put their favourite jacket to the test to find the jacket that gets them through.” The text accompanying the video said: “First up, Nightscape and the jacket that gets you high. Try the jacket, but don’t try this at home.”

Superdry defended the video saying that Gallagher is a parkour pro and has a major social media following, that the 20-year-old wasn’t targeting children in the ad, and that he was wearing clothes and accessories clearly made for adults.

The ASA also said that Superdry had argued that because an athlete was undertaking a risky activity in its marketing didn’t mean that it was encouraging the activity.

But despite the “don’t try this at home” line and the firm’s contention that children wouldn’t watch the ad, the ad watchdog didn’t seem to think that was the point. It felt that the company hadn’t sufficiently highlighted that the activity should only be undertaken by skilled and trained athletes and shouldn’t be copied by people of any age.

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