Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 07:06 GMT 
Blood donor poster 'not racist'

The poster was deemed not to be irresponsible. The advertising watchdog has dismissed complaints that a poster, displayed in a town affected by riots, was racist. The posters, which were put up around Oldham, Greater Manchester, showed four bags of blood taken from people of different ethnic origins. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints that the posters were irresponsible and offensive to
the people of Oldham. But the ASA has ruled that the poster was "unlikely" to cause widespread offence.

Race riots 

The poster was displayed in bus shelters around Oldham in August this year, just three months after the town was involved in a summer of race riots across the north-west of England.
The campaign - commissioned from advertising company Saatchi and Saatchi - was for the Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards (Emma), an annual ceremony which celebrates multiculturalism in the media. It said: "Racists. Your child needs a pint of blood, choose the white one."
Underneath the bags of blood the poster states: "Black, white, brown or yellow, we are all the same underneath."
The ASA received complaints that the posters were offensive because they implied "that the people of Oldham were racists, and all racists were white". In response to the complaints, Emma said the adverts were "intended to create an anti-racist message that could also be used to promote the need to donate blood". It added that "the posters did not mention a region or nationality."
In its adjudication the ASA said the word racists in the poster was "unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence".