back to article Watchdog bans Natasha Richardson ski helmet ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has taken a dim view of an email announcing the death of actress Natasha Richardson which went on to offer great deals on ski helmets. The offending missive, sent by, began: "We regret to inform you that British actress Natasha Richardson has died in hospital this morning, …


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  1. Lionel Baden

    ahh this reminds me of

    the time ray ban did an ad stating their glasses were to die for

    Just after a kid nicked some and in legging it fell off a cliff and died

    the family pressed charges or something like that

    i found it amusing tbh. Shouldn't of stolen them in the first place

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "must not be used again"

    Even if this actress that I have never heard of were to die a second time I would guess they wouldn't want to use exactly the same email again. The fact that she had died twice would in any case surely call for some additional comment.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so the ASA has authority over emails now?

    Their remit of what they have jurisdiction over seems to change depending on their mood.

  4. Craig

    ASA rulings are great

    Basically it's free PR, and the only repercussion is you are told not to do it again!

  5. Anonymous Coward



    I f**king hate the ASA!! How so few complaints can lead to a ban is completely out of line with how the real world works - just because some daily mail reading granny gets a bit hot under the collar when some man shows too much man does not mean the ad should be banned! There's such a thing as the off switch (or suicide - take your pick moaning wench!)

    I find that advert annoying, is that justification enough to have it taken off the screen - well it is probably, given the way things work.


  6. A J Stiles

    Or like

    Or like the time that a Vauxhall advertisement shew a car driving off the edge of a high building to the tune of "Layla" by Eric Clapton?

    (Look up the history of the song "Tears in Heaven", if you don't get it. And turn in your Blues badge.)

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Will Chief Constable Brunstrom now be censured as well? This is the man who used pictures of a decapitated motorcyclist (without the permission of the next of kin) in his adverts. No one else has taken him to task over his various antics and gaffs, seems like the only hope of any justice would be the ASA!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just setup a campaign to complain on the basis that you/a relative has something like alzheimers and you find it all deeply upsetting

  9. sabroni Silver badge

    @Lionel Baden

    I think you mean "shouldn't have stolen them".

  10. Nanki Poo

    Shouldn't joke but...

    "CAP Code clauses ... 13.3 (Protection of privacy - deceased)"

    Raises several jokes...

    "Is that, Protection of privacy is deceased...?"

    "What more privacy could the deceased require...?"


    Yep, the one with all the brickbats stuck to it...

  11. Rich
    Thumb Up


    "a car driving off the edge of a high building to the tune of "Layla" by Eric Clapton?"

    Classic! That'd make me buy one of their shitty cars...

    I object to ski helmets anyway. Unless you are racing, doing huge air or very gnarly off-piste, you don't need one. But because more people are getting them, you've got all these semi-oblivious people hurtling about with plastic clubs attached to their heads, forcing others to get helmets to protect themselves. Plus one day we'll get made to have them, in the same way as bike helmets.

  12. unitron

    You know what they say....

    ...bad taste is timeless.

  13. Chris Hatfield

    hahaha, so true, what can the ASA do about emails ?

    .. and web ads?

    ahhahaaha they have no JURISTRICTION

    I don't see a problem with the advert. It's effective. It's not like Natasha's going to be offended.

    Also joke - very lulzy.

  14. Byron Langslow


    Oh why have we become sooo precious.

    In the imortal words of Mark 'Chopper' Reid, Harden the Fuck Up!

    Why have we become a world of 18+ teaspoon buying 'oh that's terrible' advertising monkiers??!?

    Oh for the days when men were made from steel, and ships were made from wood.

  15. ffrankmccaffery

    Sick bastards

    And i agree about the confused ad. Its just aswell ive programmed hit the mute button as soon as the breaks start

  16. Andy Bright


    Stay classy and never let an unfortunate death go by without maxing the profit you can make from it..

    Yeah I know, whingers and nancy boys will complain, but there's nothing more classy than making money while simultaneously taking advantage of someone's death and pretending to do so in the name of public service..

  17. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    so they must not use the email again? FFS, the ASA needs some teeth. Regardless of the merits of this particular email.

  18. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    That ad makes sense to me!

    Alright seems a little bit insensitive, but makes a valid point in my mind. Pointing out that if you don't want to die like this famous person did, then think about sticking something on your head to make sure the squelchy stuff inside, stays where is should be!

    ( The number of times I see people cycling or blading without pads and helmets. Yes we look dicks, but I'd rather look like a living dick than a dead, trendy wanker! )

  19. Neil Woolford

    @AC about Brunstrom

    Not in an advertising campaign. One off use in a presentation, according to the Telegraph website if you care to search. if you want to have a look.

    "The presentation included details of a T-shirt worn by the motorcyclist which bore the message: 'P**s off and catch some real criminals.'" That's a nice detail. I must get one for my mate who's learning to ride a bike and foams at the mouth in the pub about speed cameras...

  20. Anonymous Coward

    The people's actress

    We all know if she hadn't been born into a theatrical oligarchy she would never have been paid enough to afford a skiing holiday. I'm going to lay a bunch of Tesco value flowers against a lamppost with a note blaming the Queen and the media for her death.

  21. kain preacher


    I f**king hate the FCC!! How so few complaints can lead to a ban is completely out of line with how the real world works.

    Oh wait this is in the UK . The ASA is not alone

  22. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    "contained a picture of Natasha Richardson"

    Before or after accident and death happened? Then again, does it really matter


  23. Anthony Cartmell

    Helmets can be dangerous.

    @The Fuzzy Wotnot "The number of times I see people cycling or blading without pads and helmets. Yes we look dicks, but I'd rather look like a living dick than a dead, trendy wanker!"

    You might want to check up on the evidence before putting too much faith in your polystyrene hat:

    Particularly the easy-to-read article by an expert who is paid to test the things, and knows exactly what protection they are able to provide:

    You could also read the label inside your polystyrene hat, to see what the manufacturer says themselves...

  24. Anonymous Coward

    @Lionel Baden

    "the time ray ban"

    I initially parsed that as "the 'time ray' ban" rather than "the time 'ray ban'"

    Must be a subconscious reaction to seeing ASA

  25. Dave

    419 ads

    Does this mean that all those adverts from Nigerians where they mention the death of someone and some free money up for grabs can also be banned from re-use by the ASA?

    Mine's the one with the million dollars in the pocket.

    Oh, and you've got bug in your comment software, it wouldn't let me use just '419' as a title.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: HtFU!

    >Oh for the days when men were made from steel, and ships were made from wood

    I think you mean

    Oh for the days when men were made from steel, and sheeps were made from wool

    As for the e-mail, I agree with the ASA. At the bery least it's inappropriate.

  27. Bob

    @Anthony Cartmell

    So, even if helmets only helped in 10% of accidents, is that a reason not to wear them? Seatbelts don't help car drivers in a rear-end shunt so should we take them out?

    Anyway, they keep the tree branches from messing up my hair.

  28. Trevor


    "keep the tree branches from messing up my hair"

    Who's riding your bike? Fucking E.T or something? What kind of speed are you going?

  29. Evil Auditor Silver badge


    How on earth does a seatbelt keep away tree branches from your hair? Must be either an odd car or a rather worrying driving style...


  30. skiwear4less

    Unreserved Apology - Natasha Richardson

    In March 2009 we sent out an email to our customers regarding the death of Natasha Richardson, if this email from caused offence we apologise.

    Our purpose for sending out the newsletter was to tell people of this tragic accident.

    We also wished to encourage people to wear helmets on the slopes, so that such accidents may not happen in the future.

  31. MinionZero

    Oh great, yet another example of Narcissistic behaviour.

    This advert gives a shocking insight into the mind of advertisers. Their thinking must be along the lines of: Someone has died ... ok how can I use that for personal gain ... I know, I can use this death to scare people into buying stuff from me. Talk about lacking empathy. What a totally narcissistic way to behave. Total self interest and utter contempt for others.

    As for skiwear4less saying it "was a newsletter and not an ad" is utter BS. Great its PR not marketing, so they think that makes it different?!. They are totally morally corrupt and I hope the company goes out of business.

    While I don't like Big Brother control, this isn't one of these kinds of cases. For any society to function fairly then laws are needed to prevent people abusing others, when their own internal empathy and so morality is so lacking. Not all control is wrong, its only wrong when that control is hijacked by the narcissistic's as a tool to use to abuse people even more for their own gain. (e.g. like MPs and Narcissistic companies like Phorm).

    In this case, the ASA has done the right thing, but are so weak as near useless in really punishing this company. Still its a very small step in the right direction for a change, especially these days, but still the damage is done.

    Society needs ways to really seriously punish all Narcissistic behaviour, to finally stop it happening to provide real protection for everyone, which is exactly what laws are suppose to do. But unfortunately the laws are so often hijacked, watered down and manipulated by the very people laws are suppose to protect society from. (Which is no surprise because narcissistic behaviour provides a competitive advantage in very competitive environments like politics and business. So the most narcissistic tend to fight to the top, to become the ones in power who make the laws and rules. Exactly like the morally corrupt bunch in power in Government now, making their own rules about what expenses they can fraudulently steal from tax payers).

  32. Rob Welsh


    Yeah and I'm a fucking tree frog!

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