ITV's 'misleading' ad for live Emmerdale experience banned

ITV's ad for a live Emmerdale attraction has been banned for "misleadingly" exaggerating the experience fans of the show would have.

The spot, seen in August, featured a woman being transported from her kitchen to a field, then to a room with costumes where she handled a blouse, and then to indoor sets, including one that had crew members in the background.

The final scene of the ad featured the women in the bar The Woolpack, the community pub set in ITV’s rural soap Emmerdale. Clips of dialogue from the show were then played throughout the ad, with a voice-over saying: "Step into the drama – The Emmerdale Studio Experience."

Two people complained about the film to the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading viewers by exaggerating the features of the attraction.

In its verdict, published this morning, the ASA agreed with the complaints and said the ad must not appear again in its current form. The spot was created by content agency Think Make Create. 

The advertising watchdog said: "The ASA acknowledged there was a fantastical element to the ad’s portrayal of the attraction, but we considered consumers would understand from the ad that the attraction was an immersive experience which incorporated the various experiences depicted." 

The ASA added:  "We considered that the ad, particularly through the inclusion of the outdoor field location, the scene in which the woman handled costumes and the scene with crew working in the background, implied that visitors would have a more immersive, wide-ranging and dramatic experience than we understood the attraction provided. We therefore concluded the ad misleadingly exaggerated the features of the attraction."

When contacted by the ASA, ITV said the brief shot of fields was used to illustrate the woman’s transformation from her suburban home to the Yorkshire Dales, and that there was a quarter-scale model village of Emmerdale, the show's eponymous setting, at the attraction which was not referred to in the ad. 

ITV added the sequence in which the woman handled a costume was a metaphor for how the Experience was brought to life with authentic artefacts from the programme. 

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