This Spotify advert was banned for being too scary

Halloween may be just around the corner, but one terrifying advert from Spotify has raised the ire of the Advertising Standards Agency, who have banned it from broadcast.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 18th October 2018, 1:54 pm
Updated Friday, 19th October 2018, 4:02 am
The advert was deemed too scary by the ASA (Photo: Spotify)
The advert was deemed too scary by the ASA (Photo: Spotify)

The ad for the music streaming platform was filmed in the style of a horror movie, and depicts a young couple who are obsessed with the song ‘Havana’ by Camila Cabello.

Whenever they play the song – which reached Number One in the UK in 2017 – a horrifying antique doll is brought to life, which then terrorises them.

The ad ends with the tagline, “Killer songs you can’t resist”. It appeared in June 2018 on YouTube, playing in front of videos from well-known vloggers with a large audience of young viewers.

The Spotify advert featured a ‘horror film style doll’ attacking housemates “The fact that the ad was set inside a home, including a bedtime setting, and featured a doll, meant it was particularly likely to cause distress to children who saw it,” said the ASA.

Meant to be ‘tongue-in-cheek’ The agency also ruled that not enough was done to make sure viewers knew the ad was for Spotify and not a horror film, and that the clip’s implied violence, the characters’ reactions and the abrupt editing and ‘jump scare’ nature of the ad made it likely to scare young viewers.

Spotify responded by saying: “We acknowledge the ruling from the ASA and regret any distress the ad may have caused the complainant.”

It defended the ad by saying that there was no gore or violence, and that the feelgood nature of by Camila Cabello’s ‘Havana’ established the commercial as being tongue-in-cheek.