Junk mail 

16 February 2005 tbs.pm/465

From today’s Grauniad

Channel Five was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority watchdog yesterday for sending out a promotional mailshot that purported to be the case notes of a serial killer obsessed with the recipient.

The mailing, sent to 30,000 people to promte a new series of the crime drama CSI, was marked “sealed evidence – do not remove”, and contained photographs and a scrap of clothing.

An accompanying letter, designed to look like a copy of an email, said: “This email is received just before the carbon copy killer strikes. So far every victim has received an email identical to this.”

An accompanying “coroner’s report” and “psychological profile” showed diagrams of the human body with exit wounds marked on them. They were personalised to refer to the recipient’s name.

The authority received 190 complaints about the mailshot and ruled that it had caused “serious offence and distress to the recipients”, compounded by the fact that it had been received by some children and others who were not aware of the TV series. Owen Gibson

The unreadable original adjudication can be found here on the ASA’s website RJG

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