Most people who are about to watch a trailer for AMC's Fear the Walking Dead are fully aware that they're about to witness something that will probably include blood, some guts and at least one other disturbing or stressful scenario. At least as far as adults go. It's an entirely different situation when it's a bunch of children having to watch a promo for the zombie drama, which happened earlier this year on Britain's Channel 4, and the broadcaster has publicly apologized and promised to revise and improve its advertising standards and procedures.
To give you a sign of how long it takes for anything official to happen these days, it was today that the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a set of complaints about the Fear the Walking Dead trailer being shown in the daylight hours all the way back in April. (Their motto is Justice, Eventually.) On one Sunday afternoon, Channel 4 accidentally let one of the Fear the Walking Dead spots show up twice during a broadcast of the animated comedy Rango, and it's easy to understand that most of the parents tuning in were not altogether excited to follow the ad's advice of watching Season 1 on Amazon Prime.
The ASA ruled that while older children would have been fine seeing the ad, the suspenseful build-up therein could distress the younger kids. The trailer had been approved by the ad watchdog Clearcast without any kind of a restriction for when it could air, but there was apparently a recommendation advisory saying the channel should give its own second opinion about when to show it.
According to The BBC, Channel 4 admitted their own internal procedures failed to catch the Fear the Walking Dead advisory, and thus nothing was done to limit its use. The channel apologized to anyone who may have been affected by the ad showing up, and claimed steps were being taken to change policies so that situations like this won't happen again.
That afternoon's airing of Rango was seen by 927,000 people, with around 150,000 of those viewers falling between the ages of 4 and 9 years old. (Not that Fear the Walking Dead is perfectly suitable viewing for 10-12 year olds either.) The commercial in question apparently featured panicked crowds, creepy creatures and lots of loud sirens and other hectic noises, and while we'd all like to believe that kids are mentally capable of moving past these kinds of visuals, that isn't always the case. Remember those terrible stories about teachers showing horror movies in school, either by accident or on purpose? Apologies didn't work for all of them.
Fear the Walking Dead is currently getting the back half of Season 2 underway on AMC, with another seven episodes left to go before The Walking Dead proper premieres. In the meantime, check out everything else hitting the air this fall with our TV premiere schedule.