Adverts for the Channel 4 series Six Feet Under, featuring a range of morbid beauty products, have been criticised.
More than 100 complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a promotion appeared in magazines, as inserts in newspapers and on the internet.
The first advert showed a man's naked shoulders and head. In the foreground was a bottled labelled "In Eternum + embalming fluid" and next to it the words "skin to die for".
In the second, a woman was pictured with her lips open and her eyes opaque below a jar labelled "In Eternum + wound filler" and the words "beauty to die for".
A newspaper insert featured three products - wound filler, embalming fluid and lip lock. On the back it said: Introducing Fisher & Sons Funeral Home luxury range of long-lasting afterlife beauty accessories."
Among the 103 complaints were that the adverts did not make it clear at any point they were to promote Six Feet Under - a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family that runs a funeral home in California.
Channel 4 billboard posters for the series were banned by the ASA in May this year after complaints they were offensive, shocking and unsuitable for children
In response to the latest complaints, Channel 4 said the adverts were "obviously a spoof", confirmed by the "fantastical notion" of the products featured.
The ASA in its adjudication said "people were more likely to be confused and misled than amused by the advertisers' ironic approach". It asked Channel 4 to avoid using the same concept in future.
The watchdog rejected complaints that the same adverts were "offensive, shocking and likely to cause undue distress, especially to the recently bereaved".
Story filed: 07:42 Wednesday 13th August 2003
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