Warner Bros. have been scorned after an advert for It Chapter Two featured in between tracks on a playlist called ‘Classic Lullabies’, including songs for children, on Spotify.
A listener flagged their complaint after hearing the character of Pennywise the clown (voiced by Bill Skarsgard) in a song break.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the advert broke the film company’s code.
The ASA’s ruling reads: “The ad began with a cinematic drum noise and a crescendo of high-pitched percussive sound, which the ASA considered immediately created the feeling of suspense.
“The sound continued through the ad, while the voice of the film’s villain Pennywise stated, ‘For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you’ in a deep tone.
“He then shouted, ‘Oh I missed you’ in a loud and desperate manner as the ad built to a climax with a sharp snap of a second drum, at which point another of the film’s characters stated ‘Pennywise’, and the sound of laughing clowns followed.
“We considered those elements meant the ad was likely to cause distress to young children, and that it should have been appropriately targeted to avoid the risk of them hearing it.”
Warner Bros. had acknowledged the advert was “perceived as mildly scary”, and aimed at 18-44 year olds. At the same time, Spotify said the specific playlist wasn’t primarily for children, and that there is a filter for the controversial It Chapter Two ad not to play on kids playlists.
It Chapter Two earned positive reviews upon release. NME‘s Alex Flood gave the film four stars, calling it “a horror nut’s dream.”