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Bungee Jumper Loses Head To Crocodile Video

Summary:
Circulating video supposedly shows a bungee jumper having his head bitten off by a crocodile as he reaches the water (Full commentary below).



Status:
Video is a beer commercial and does not depict a real incident

Example:(Submitted, December 2009)
Subject: FW: Northern Territory Bungee Jumping - Watch the water closely..




Commentary:
This video, which has been circulating via email, social networking and video sharing sites for several years, supposedly shows a terrible bungee jumping accident in which the unfortunate jumper has his head snapped off by a large crocodile as he nears the water at the end of his jump. "Big Doug", the hapless bungee jumper, is shown leaping from a high platform built over an Australian waterway while two sports commentators report on the action.

However, the video is not footage of a real incident, but instead a TV commercial for Foster's, an iconic Australian beer. The commercial was first shown on British television back in 2003.

Full version of original commercial
The version of the video currently circulating omits the final part of the commercial, which features shots of Foster's hit tap, a type of beer that is made to retain its head more than other beers. The commercial ends with the voice-over, "New Foster's Hit Tap...Don't lose your head!".

Of course, as the complete version shows, the vast majority of viewers who saw the original TV ad would have realized almost immediately that the footage did not show a real incident. The words of the commentator after "Big Doug" loses his head, ("Crikey! That's gunna hurt in the morning, son!"), along with the product shots and "Don't lose your head" voice-over made it abundantly clear that the footage was intended only as a humorous way of promoting beer. However, once it escaped out of the confines of its original TV context and with the final portion of the video omitted, many recipients believed that it depicted a real incident.

When it aired in Britain, the ad caused some controversy, with 186 viewers submitting complaints that they "were startled by the ad and found it in bad taste". However, Britain's Independent Television Commission (ITC) investigated the complaints and concluded that, while the ad may have been startling, it was "clearly humorous" and the "actual images were not graphic, bloody or realistic". The ITC stated that the existing scheduling restrictions were adequate although it recognized that the style of humour would not suit all tastes.

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References:
Foster's ad cleared of bad taste
Television Advertising Complaints Reports - Fosters - don't lose your head

Last updated: 4th December 2009
First published: 4th December 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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