Lastminute.com has scored a dramatic own goal with an email campaign after advertising watchdogs forced the company to withdraw a promotion that referred to sex offender Gary Glitter.
The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint by a subscriber to the online company’s promotions and agreed that the campaign was “likely to cause serious or widespread offence”.
The email, titled “Doing It for the Kids”, featured images of two young boys and was being used to promote late deals for theatre tickets in London.
The promotion read: “Like Gary Glitter in a sweet shop, you too can have your pick of kiddy treats in London’s theatre world.
“If you don’t know what to do with your lovely sprogs, get them off the X-Box and into the theatre. These shows will definitely be their cup of Ribena …”
The email was sent to subscribers before Glitter’s recent conviction in Vietnam for child sex offences, under his real name Paul Gadd.
Gadd was placed on the sex offenders register in the UK in 1997 following his conviction for possessing indecent images of children.
The ASA said the Lastminute.com campaign attempted to play on “contemporary, tasteless humour” based on Glitter’s notoriety.
Lastminute.com said it “regretted” that the email had caused offence and assured the regulator that the promotion had been withdrawn immediately.
The aim had been to create advertising that “stood out” but admitted that the campaign under scrutiny had involved an “error in judgement”.
Read the ASA report here