TORONTO (AP) -The Toronto Blue Jays have been forced to revise a television commercial featuring Frank Thomas after the ad drew objections from the Television Bureau of Canada, a regulatory body for private broadcasters.
A 30-second spot that shows the 6-foot-5, 275-pound designated hitter taking part in a pillow fight with two young boys was edited to remove a scene where Thomas knocks one of the boys off a bed and onto the floor. Thomas leaves the room with a smile on his face as the youngster gets to his feet and says “Wow.”
Thomas is a former college football player and father of three whose nickname is the Big Hurt.
Laurel Lindsay, vice president of marketing for the Blue Jays, said Thomas and the child still exchange pillow blows in the edited version but the child is not knocked to the floor. Instead, he pops into the air when struck.
The decision to revise the ad was first reported by The Globe and Mail. Lindsay called the controversy over the commercial “ridiculous.”
“Clearly we have taken ourselves entirely too seriously if we have given a pillow fight this much attention,” Lindsay said Thursday. “The reaction we’re getting from the fans is that people can’t even believe this is an issue. Everybody is entitled to their opinion and the Bureau’s role is they feel that somehow a child is being put in harm’s way and they need to step in and make sure it’s clarified. That’s their prerogative.”
The new commercial also features a disclaimer reading “Dramatization. Do not try this at home.”
The original commercial still will air on CBC television, a public broadcaster that can set its own standards for content and advertising. Private broadcasters who have been running the commercial will have to switch to the edited version.
The Television Bureau of Canada also demanded the word “Dramatization” be added to another Blue Jays commercial featuring pitcher A.J. Burnett. In that spot, Burnett is late putting his garbage on the curb, arriving as the truck pulls away. Burnett tosses his trash into the departing truck, skimming the head of one of the workers in the process.
No changes were required for a commercial in which Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay catches a bouquet at a wedding before throwing it back at the bride.
The ads were created by the firm Publicis Toronto.
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