Advertising Standards Authority dismisses complaint over use of name in anti-child grooming advertisement

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has thrown out a complaint that using the name 'Albert' in an anti-child grooming advertisement was discriminatory.

The complainant took offence at the Government's 'Keep it Real Online' campaign, which aims to raise awareness of people posing as children to take advantage of young people online.

In the ad an older man visits the home of a young girl called Sarah. When her mother answers the door the man introduces himself as "Albert, @Albie07 on Insta" and then says he's 13. The unimpressed mother sends him away as a voiceover warns that people may not always be who they say they are online.

The complainant was concerned the advertisement could cause "significant psychological (if not physical) harm now and in the future" to people named Albert.

"For any person, young or old being referred to on national TV as a named sex offender is degrading."

However the advertiser, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), defended the use of the name - saying it was crucial the older man have one.

"Online groomers use names (albeit, fake ones) to help build a connection with potential victims. Removing the alias from the ad makes it less relatable," it said.

A previous campaign had used the name Nick - which people were also mad about - so the DIA says it chose a less common name this time around.

The ASA has ruled that while it recognises some people called Albert might be offended by the ad, there were not enough grounds to proceed with a complaint as it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.