Who is “plug boy”? For those of you who don’t know, he is the unlikely star of this years Sainsbury’s Christmas ad - despite only being on screen for 5 seconds.

In the ad, we see the boy dressed as a plug run into a socket and thus turning on all the Christmas tree lights in the school play, which to most sounds innocent enough right? However the ASA have received over 30 complaints for his part in the ad, stating that it encourages children to either run into walls or to play with plug sockets at home in an attempt to emulate the on screen fun.

These complains have received backlash from fans of the ad on social media, with one user stating those who have complained should “go and have a good hard look at themselves”.

This poses the question as to whether advertising agencies should be more conscious of the impressionability of children, or whether we have a tendency to over analyse something that should be quite lighthearted. As for Sainsbury’s, this is a great example of a brand leveraging the bizarreness effect. Taking something that is out of the ordinary, and the extra publicity is only doing wonders for their Christmas coverage.

The official response from the ASA to the Evening Standard says – “The general consensus of the complaints is around health and safety, fears of children seeing fit to play with plug sockets. We are assessing these complaints and weighing up whether there appears to be a problem. If not, we will close the case and inform the complainants.”

So is this the last we’ll see of plug boy? I personally hope it isn’t!

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By Amy Brough

Junior Account Executive