A controversial commercial featuring Blue Jays slugger Frank Thomas forcefully snapping a pillow against a young boy is spurring serious debate among fans and critics alike.
The Television Bureau of Canada, the watchdog governing ads on private networks, deemed the commercial, in which the boy is sent flying, to be too violent to air. A revised version of the ad, which cuts before the child is knocked down, has been approved for broadcast.
The unedited version will air only on the CBC, which has its own standards review as a public broadcaster. The network says it is comfortable with the content of the commercial and has not fielded any complaints.
'He hit him a little bit too hard." —Caroline Linton, Blue Jays fan
But for some, the commercial, which aims to draw in more fans, goes a bit too far.
Toronto fan Jonathan Phillips said,"It might be a little too violent because the big guy is taking advantage of the little boy. In that case, it may be giving the wrong message."
Similarly, spectator Caroline Linton said the commercial pushed the boundary.
"He hit him a little bit too hard," she said of the five time all-star. "But other than that it shouldn't have caused all that commotion. Just a little bit too hard — like a micro — but other than that it would have been absolutely fine."
'It took a kid getting hit by a pillow to knock the Leafs off the front page.' —Paul Godfrey, Blue Jays president
An unedited version of the commercial can be seen on the online video sharing website YouTube. The bulk of the comments left on the site were supportive.
Laurel Lindsay, the Blue Jays' vice-president of marketing, also noted the commercial, which was intended to be lighthearted, has been debated on talk radio stations.
Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said he's surprised the pillow fight commercial, produced by Publicis Toronto, has received so much attention.
"It took a kid getting hit by a pillow to knock the Leafs off the front page," he said.
The Television Bureau of Canada says it approves 45,000 commercials each year for private media and only asks for revisions in rare instances.