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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Controversial ISPCC 'Headbombz' ad pulled from cinemas amid concerns it's upsetting children

The ad campaign has sparked controversy from people who think it might worry children
The ad campaign has sparked controversy from people who think it might worry children

Zainab Boladale and Kathy Armstrong

A controversial ISPCC ad aimed at encouraging children to talk about their problems has been pulled from cinemas due fears it could upset children.

The ad campaign, entitled 'Headbombz' displays cartoon children with their heads exploding from worry with parts of their head scattered across a classroom floor and playground.

The organisation explained that the ad has now been pulled from cinemas as the "viewing experience is completely different to the in-home experience" and that it "could mean that some children won’t have the opportunity to discuss what they have seen in the moment due to the cinema environment".

“Your head fills up with stuff and noise until it’s going to burst. It’s not nice, it’s not funny, in fact, it might make you spew,” the ad tells children in a song.

It is designed to portray the message 'talking makes us stronger'.

The advert which has been viewed online more than 230,000 times, sparked negative public backlash from viewers.

However, the charity has defended the campaign saying it has resulted in "an increase in calls to Childline from children in this target age group who want to share their hopes, fears, worries and frustrations".

"We have also however received some feedback from people who believe the campaign could worry and upset some children. We have taken this feedback seriously, have responded to it and have amended some elements of this important campaign as a result," the organisation said in a statement to

"We will not be removing the campaign, which has a very important message to get across; however we have taken steps to address the concerns raised."

This includes changes to the packs sent to schools directing teachers to some guidance published on the ISPCC's website.

"Our recent body of research and years of work with children in Ireland has shown us that one of the age groups of children who could benefit most from a positive and supportive environment in which to talk about their mental health is the 8 to 10 years’ age group," they said.

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