LONDON – A British advertising watchdog said Wednesday it was banning a commercial for an animated comedy series because it pokes fun at President Bush.
The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Center said the ad, which depicts a cartoon Bush inserting a DVD into a toaster, could only be shown if the makers sought the president's permission first.
The commercial promotes a video and DVD of highlights from 2DTV, an animated series that mocks celebrities and politicians.
The BACC monitors compliance with rules governing advertising on British television. One of the guidelines says living people should not be caricatured or referred to in advertisements without their permission.
"People are entitled not to be exploited for someone else's commercial gain," said the watchdog's director, Uisdean Maclean.
The Independent Television Commission has the power to fine broadcasters who violate the watchdog's rulings.
The producer of 2DTV, Giles Pilbrow, said requiring satirists to seek permission from their targets was "an idiotic request" that would mean asking Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein if it was all right to caricature them.
"I doubt we could get Bin Laden's permission — he's a bit tricky to track down at the moment," he said.
The offending ad shows Bush opening a copy of the video and saying, "My favorite — just pop it in the video player."
He then sticks it into a toaster and burns it.
The regulator also nixed a 2DTV ad featuring Manchester United soccer star David Beckham and his Spice Girl wife Victoria, in which the athlete is seen making out his Christmas list, asking: "Victoria, how do you spell DVD?"