Child's Play posters pulled in NZ over fears they would 'traumatise' Christchurch kids

A poster for the horror movie Child's Play was removed by advertisers after a Government authority ruled the image was disturbing to children. 

A complaint laid with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by R Durward took issue with the Roadshow NZ advertisement, which depicted a doll with a red eye holding a knife, alongside the tagline: 'Time to Play'. 

Durward was particularly concerned about how the poster would affect people in Christchurch.

"The region of Canterbury has the highest suicide rates in the country, and has suffered from earthquakes, and recent mosque shootings," the complaint read. 

"It is therefore especially inappropriate to further traumatise the region's children from these billboards." 

The complainant cited poor mental health as further reasons why children should be protected from "violent, frightening images as they pass in their family cars". 

Roadshow NZ said it had attempted to minimise the impact of the knife by hiding it behind text and avoided kid-specific areas when choosing where to place the billboard. 

"The film has a central character which is a fictional doll, our intention was to market the film and the film only," Roadshow told the ASA. 

"We made this clear by including a large 'IN CINEMAS' call to action." 

The complaints board upheld the complaint in part, agreeing that the poster "would have caused fear and distress, without justification" and ruled that the advertisement must be removed. 

The board said the images were "not likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence to the general population", but noted the large posters would "look scary to a child". 

Since its July release, Child's Play has earned over US$29 million at the box office worldwide.