Pxmart has pulled a television commercial featuring a character inspired by the hit Japanese horror movie Ring after parents complained that their children could not sleep after watching the advert.
The commercial was designed to coincide with Ghost Month — the seventh month of the lunar calendar — which started on July 27 this year.
According to tradition, Ghost Month marks the opening of the gates of the underworld to let spirits loose for a month to dwell among the living.
The advertisement featured a female figure dressed in a white robe with long hair covering her face — reminiscent of the character Sadako in the Ring trilogy.
The National Communications Commission said it had received 10 complaints about the ad and notified Pxmart about them.
One of the complaints was filed by a woman surnamed Chen (陳) from Taoyuan County.
Chen said her children were frightened when they saw the advertisement.
“They were terrified and cried. They could not sleep at night and had nightmares after seeing the ad,” Chen said.
Pxmart spokesperson Wang Pei-chi (王佩琦) said that making offerings to underworld spirits during Ghost Month was a way to thank and pay tribute to one’s ancestors.
“The ad with the Sadako-like character was meant to remind people to treat departed souls and ghosts well with offerings of food,” Wang said.
“After the ad aired on July 19, we received telephone calls from mothers complaining about it,” Wang said.
“We respect the views of our customers and pulled the ad on Friday,” she added.
However, some netizens have a different take on matter, with one saying: “The ad is very funny, it is in kuso [parody] style. It’s quite interesting.”
Additional reporting by Tang Chia-ling