Horror Film Ads Shown Before YouTube Kids Compilations

By Gary Cutlack on at

Children searching for songs from Frozen and Lego assembly videos on YouTube were given a special treat last winter, when adverts for 15-rated horror film Insidious: The Last Key were shown before the brightly coloured things meant for children.

Minecraft videos were also introduced by an advert featuring women screaming, necks being attacked and monster claws poking out of things, leading parents to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority. Some adults even complained the ads were too scary for other adults, that's how grim the clips were.

Sony Pictures said it used YouTube's promotional control interface to target adult material with the campaign of terror, but clearly something went a bit wrong. YouTube was no help and said it was Sony Pictures' responsibility to make sure it managed ad display preferences correctly, with Sony saying it did include around 1,000 negative tag words that should've ensured the ads didn't come up when viewing material found by searching for child-aimed keywords.

But it didn't work, or Frozen and Lego weren't on the list. So a few children are now mentally scarred for life and can't get to sleep without daddy sitting at the end of their bed with a machete, promising that he'll fight off the neck-eating monsters and sacrifice himself if necessary, and that everything will be OK. At least the trauma might keep the affected kids away from childhood-ruining online lie portal YouTube for a few years. [ASA via The Times]