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Spotify pulls horror-themed ad from the U.K. following complaints over terrified kids

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Oct 17, 2018, 1:25 PM EDT

A Spotify ad designed to look and feel like a short horror film has been banned in the United Kingdom, thanks to (if that’s the right phrase) the U.K. consumer watchdog group, the Advertising Standards Authority. 

The horror-themed ad features a bunch of young, pretty, hip people using Spotify to play the Camila Cabello song “Havana,” which awakens some sort of doll/mannequin/robot from hell, which stalks the hapless music lovers. But of course, after a parent complained that the ad upset their kids, the ASA looked into it and said, absolutely not.

Now, to be fair to the ASA, the ad is pretty freakin’ terrifying — see for yourself: 


And just when you’re wondering, “How does a terrifying killer doll help sell Spotify?” the commercial offers the tagline: “Killer songs you can’t resist.” OK, gotcha. Cute. 

Anyway, ASA announced that a parent made the initial complaint after “their children saw the ad and found it distressing.” Wait. So, you’re telling us that some young children found these shots…



Spotify 2


Spotify 3


…distressing? Get outta here.

The ASA’s response to the ad was that “although violence was not explicitly shown in the ad, it was implied.” And yes, there’s nothing explicitly violent in the ad — there aren’t any shots of the doll monster attacking anyone (the camera cuts away right before). 

However, the watchdog organization noted that the ad was seen during a video on the YouTube channel for gaming channel DanTDM and determined “it was not suitable to be seen by children” and “therefore should have been appropriately targeted to avoid the risk of children seeing it.”

Spotify has since apologized for the ad in a statement, saying: “We acknowledge the ruling from the ASA and regret any distress the ad may have caused the complainant.”