Blog: Olly WehringOasis' Cactus Kid - Too prickly for TV

Olly Wehring | 15 October 2008

This may come as a disappointment to many of you in the UK, but if you read our news pages late last week, you will know that the Cactus Kid has well and truly disappeared from our screens – possibly forever.

Ordered off the air by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Cactus Kid - who is green, covered in spikes and doesn't like water – and his ‘young’ and pregnant girlfriend will no longer be entertaining us with their rebellious antics.

The television campaign for Oasis, which shows a girl running away from home with her new 'cactus' boyfriend, received 32 complaints to the ASA claiming the commercials were "offensive" and "irresponsible".

Viewers complained the advert condoned underage sex, teenage pregnancy and that the girl's last line in the ad - "I reckon now she knows how I ended up getting sunburn on the bottom of my feet" - was an offensive and potentially harmful sexual reference.

On hearing the news of the ban, a few colleagues in the office were appalled that such a ‘light-hearted’ advert could offend so many.

However, on reflection, and after watching all four episodes, our views changed somewhat.

The episodes build in the style of an American road movie until, in the final episode, the young girl is in hospital giving birth to her ‘cactus’ baby. Upon revealing a stomach pierced with spikes, the voice-over talks of an experience like “pushing a porcupine through a keyhole”.

Enough!

To say the experience left us feeling somewhat queasy is an understatement. Silence followed and we realised our original gasps of amazement had now turned to gasps of horror as we reflected on how watching a young girl giving birth to a cactus could really makes us want to pick up a bottle of Oasis.

The main issue for the ASA was that, although Cactus Girl was not under-age, many viewers may have regarded her as being in her early teens.

The main issue for me is that I am now truly disturbed and will never look at a cactus in the same way again.

However, after sleeping on it, I thought I may have been a little harsh on the Cactus Couple, so having looked on a discussion forum this morning, I found some other viewers thoughts on the advert …

“That new Oasis advert is quite gruesome, bordering on scary! I can't believe he is on before the watershed!!!”

“I don't find it disturbing, but I wouldn't want to be present at the birth.”

"I would have thought getting pregnant in the first place would be pretty tricky."

“I find cactus man strangely attractive. You can tell beneath the prickles that he is gorgeous.”

For those of you that haven't yet seen the final episode, I’ll leave it up to you to decide your thoughts on it …


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