Poundland shrugs off "sense of humour failure" as its controversial Christmas naughty elf ad campaign gets banned


Locked up: The misbehaving elf has been taken to task by the ad watchdog (Source: Poundland)

Poundland's naughty elf adverts have not won over the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which said today they were found to be offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children.

The rather risqué campaign by Poundland quickly took off on Twitter over the festive period, but the regulator today upheld complaints over two issues: that the adverts were offensive, and "unsuitable to be displayed in an untargeted medium where children could see them". 

Read more: Poundland's been sharing some very NSFW tweets and we've only just noticed

Poundland's response? A picture of said elf behind bars accompanied by the following message:

Britain’s the home of saucy postcards, carry on films and panto, so I’m sad the ASA found my double entendres hard to swallow.

At least it’s only 84 people who had a sense of humour failure compared to the tens of thousands who got the joke and liked and shared my posts online.

I’m doing everything I can to be good so I can get out on good behaviour later this year.

Love, Elfie 

In case you missed the adverts in question, an example included a toy elf sitting on a toy donkey with the caption: "Don't tell Rudolph I've found a new piece of ass."

Poundland had said its elf campaign was based on humour and double entendres, and was not meant to offend anyone. 

The ASA said it understood the campaign was based on a toy elf resembling the Christmas tradition known as "Elf on the Shelf", with it depicted in various scenarios behaving in a mischievous manner. However, it said Poundland's Facebook and Twitter pages were "not age-gated and could therefore be seen by anyone".

The watchdog added: "Although we did not consider they were likely to be of particular interest or appeal to children, we did not consider those who were already following the pages would expect to see sexual or offensive content."

It concluded the ads, depicting the toy figures in a sexualised manner, were irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence, so the advert cannot appear again in its current form. 

Still, Poundland did report its best Christmas ever last month, so it's not all bad news on the elf front.

It has also started a "Tosser of the Year" campaign - encouraging customers to show off their pancake tossing skills ahead of Shrove Tuesday. So, the bargain shop still seems to be in high spirits...

Read more: Poundland just had its best Christmas ever