A short video advert released by high street retailer Superdry featuring a free-runner walking along a steel support beam high above a cityscape has been branded "harmful and irresponsible" by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority.

The advert, which was originally released in late October, stars Harry Gallagher, a free-runner under the name of Nightscape, walking along a steel beam late at night wearing Superdry apparel. However, after receiving a complaint that the advert may encourage young children to try and copy the professional parkour's activity, which is an extreme urban sport, the UK watchdog has branded the advert as "harmful and irresponsible."

The ASA ruled the advert was socially irresponsible as it encourages "unsafe practice" because it did not present the free-runner's activity as part of a particular sport activity or state that this was an activity which should only be undertaken by trained athletes. In particular, the ASA found that a short part of the clip with the text 'this is the jacket that gives you a different view' gave viewers the impression that free-running was a normal thing to do.

Superdry countered that the short video advert featured its range of jackets and that it was not targeting children as Gallagher was wearing products clearing designed for adults. However, the ASA argued that social media influencer chosen to star in the ad is associated with youth culture. "While we acknowledged the lack of ease of access to such a location meant it would not be an easy activity to emulate, we considered it was likely to appeal to some young adults as an act of dexterity and daring," said the ASA.

"For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was harmful and irresponsible."


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