LONDON (Reuters) - An advert featuring a moving image of Tudor Queen Mary I turning into a flesh-eating zombie has been banned after complaints that it scared children.
The digital image of 'Bloody Mary', the Roman Catholic daughter of King Henry VIII, who burned over 300 heretics at the stake during her reign, appeared on the side of subway escalators to promote a London Dungeon exhibition.
It shows Mary passively seated and then turning to face the viewer, with wide eyes and a silent scream. Her face changes ghoulishly; gashes appear, her teeth rot and her eyes turn red. She then resumes her original passive position as her face returned to normal.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received four complaints that the ad was inappropriate as the sudden change of expression was likely to frighten children.
The watchdog agreed, ruling that the poster should not be used again in its current form as it had "terrified" children and breached fear and distress guidelines.
Defending the ad, Merlin Entertainments said: "The object of the advertising was to show the dark side of her personality and portray her as a villain."
Reporting by Rianna Walcott; Editing by Steve Addison