LONDON An ad for a TV dating show has been banned for suggesting that redheads are unattractive, Britain's advertising watchdog said on Wednesday.
Virgin Media's newspaper advert for the program "Dating in the Dark" included the text: "How do you spot a ginger in the dark?"
Virgin said the premise of the show was to challenge people's perception of attractiveness and to encourage decisions based on personality as well as looks.
However the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) agreed with three complainants that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and should not be used again.
"We considered the text was likely to be interpreted ... as a statement that reflected a choice between looks and personality ... being a suggestion that people with ginger hair were unattractive," the ASA said in a statement.
"We considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted to be light-hearted in tone and was instead likely to be seen as prejudicial against people with ginger hair."
Other adverts in the series used to promote the show had included the tagline: "When the lights come on I just hope I haven't been kissing Shrek."
On Tuesday, Britain's biggest retailer Tesco apologized and said it had withdrawn a Christmas card which showed a child with red hair sitting on the lap of Santa Claus under the banner: "Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)