Aviva suffered a massive backlash on social media site Twitter last night against its placement of an advert for income protection (IP) showing a motorbike accident during ITV's popular period drama Downton Abbey.
The advert aims to show how IP can safeguard customers' standard of living in the event they are unable to work, for example due to an accident.
But angry viewers labelled it "depressing" and said it spoiled their enjoyment of the eagerly awaited start of the second series of the hit show.
Many on Twitter were so outraged at the advert that they vowed they would never buy another Aviva product.
Below are the results of a Twitter search during and just after the show for 'Aviva Downton Abbey':
EddCrocker Edward Crocker
Aviva sponsorship of downton abbey is shameful does this mean that all bikers are going to have an accident, rubbish.
ryanmills Ryan Mills
The Aviva sponsorship of Downton Abbey are so bloody depressing for a show that's meant to be entertaining. Poorly thought out strategy.
davehudson77 Dave Hudson
@avivaukgi I will never buy aviva products thanks to their Sunday evening-ruining adverts on Downton Abbey! Sack your marketing director!
TheRothSays tom roth.
Aviva idents on Downton Abbey, shocking. "Gary" instantly amongst the most appalling characters on tv
Weddingfilms4U Vanessa Williams
Watching a 90 minute Aviva advert with a few seconds of Downton Abbey squeezed inbetween
martinbamford Martin Bamford
By watching Spooks I've managed to a) avoid watching Downton Abbey and b) avoid the misguided sounding #aviva ads. Double bonus.
simperman Paul Simper
They are truly rubbish. RT @RyanJL: Here's what Aviva were hoping to achieve with the awful Downton Abbey ident 'story' bit.ly/qPuCsY
thirdbreakfast Dan A
Note to Aviva: the tone of your placements around the Downton Abbey break will only create a resolve to never buy your products. Please note
auntietee75 T E
AVIVA ads are so depressing. Terrible interruptions to lovely Downton Abbey!!
Singstar1982 Vikki Lyons
Right! Downton Abbey is so beautiful, why are they depressing us with those Aviva adverts!!
mattcooke_uk Matt Cooke
Dear Aviva. There's room for only one Gary on the ITV1 Sunday schedule - Mr Barlow - not the poor bloke depicted in your Downton Abbey ads.
cjiqbal Chaudhry Javed Iqbal
Don't think the Aviva biker accident advert on ITV does justice to #Downton Abbey
kjalee Katy Lee
Ofcom are surely going to get a flood of complaints about the Aviva ads sponsoring Downton Abbey
Lockers75 Justin Lockwood
The #Aviva adverts during Downton Abbey are the worst I've EVER seen #simples
mattcooke_uk Matt Cooke
Downton Abbey being slightly ruined by Aviva sponsorship trails which feature someone stuck in an upturned car. Hmm.
BookJo Joanna Sholem
Aviva ad dumb intro to Downton Abbey - totally disconcerting transition I thought They didn't have motorbikes in 1916....
Sue Helmont, Head of Brand at Aviva UK said the company is reviewing all comments about its latest campaign.
"The stories were chosen specifically to show how the lives of everyday people can suddenly take a dramatic turn, but financial support can help in their hour of need," she said.
"The first series of idents shown last night cover the story of Gary, an Aviva income protection customer who sustained serious injuries in a motorcycle accident [and] could no longer continue to do his job as an engineer.
"His policy provided him with an income and enabled him to retrain for another profession, while continuing to receive an income from Aviva.
"We worked very closely with Gary to ensure that his case was handled as sensitively as possible."
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