The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it has received in excess of 300 complaints so far for the advert, which was run in the UK during Sunday evening during prime time viewing, when potentially hundreds of thousands of young children could have been watching television.
The ad shows two young children trying to catch their parents putting presents under the Christmas tree. However, they start to become worried when they see a distinct lack of interest from their parents on the present buying front.
It transpired that the parents were secretly using PayPal to buy the gifts their children want online. However, critics of the commercial say that it ruins Christmas by suggesting that parents buy presents for their kids, and not Santa Claus as many believe.
“I can confirm that so far we’ve received 301 complaints about the Paypal TV ad. The general nature of the complaints are that the ad is offensive because it implies that Father Christmas doesn’t exist and that it’s inappropriate to be shown at a time when it could be seen by children,” the ASA said in a written statement sent to RT.
The advertising watchdog will also now decide whether an investigation into the commercial should be conducted.
Threatened with a backlash from potentially thousands of angry parents who may have to break the news to their children that no one will be coming down the chimney to deliver presents on December 25, PayPal has issued an apology.
We just want to take a moment to say we’re sorry that some people have been upset by our new UK Christmas TV advert,” said a spokeswoman for PayPal. “Our ad aims to take a fun look at those Christmas presents kids know come from their parents, and not in any way say Father Christmas doesn’t also deliver presents to them.”
PayPal have since agreed to only show the advert after the watershed at 21:00, adding that they want “every child to experience the magic of Christmas.”
Nevertheless, Santa Stephens Patterson from the Society of Santa told RT that the damage has already been done.
“Clearly, whoever put the ad together was not thinking and had no idea they would be speaking directly to a child, about the child’s beliefs. They just did not think it through carefully enough and I think that is the tragedy that children have inadvertently lost their beliefs. If I were PayPal, I would remove the ad immediately,” he said.
Photo credit: mirror.co.uk