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ASA calls time on alcopop ads

Authority shows its WKD side

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a series of TV ads for "alcopops" WKD and Smirnoff Ice, citing "new rules and Guidance Notes" which came into force on 1 January 2005 "as a result of widespread concern about drinking behaviour among young people, including excessive or binge drinking and anti-social behaviour".

The ASA used in both cases CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 11.8.2 (a) (Alcoholic drinks) which states booze ads "must not be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18, in particular by reflecting or being associated with youth culture".

The first adjudication, against Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd - the maker of WKD - examined two ads, the first of which it described as follows:

The first ad featured two men wandering around a shop looking for WKD. One pointed up to the shelf containing WKD and said There it is; the shop keeper jumped out at them from behind some shelves and said WKD huh? [He laughed hysterically] You naughty customers [he waggled his finger at them]. The two men looked surprised and started to leave the shop. The shop keeper waved his pricing gun at them as if it were a real gun and it spewed out price stickers. The shop keeper rushed out of the shop, pulled open his shop coat and displayed his T-shirt, on which the words I love my WKD side were printed, and said I'm loving my WKD side. The end caption stated Have you got a WKD side? and the voice-over said He's just not got it, have you?

The ASA concluded:

We considered that the humour in both ads was juvenile, that both ads employed themes that are either associated with youth culture or likely to appeal strongly to adolescents, that the shopkeepers behaviour, when he jumped out from behind some shelves and used his pricing gun as if it were a real gun, was make-believe play-acting normally associated with children and that his wacky, silly behaviour would appeal strongly to young peoples sense of humour.

It accordingly ruled:

We concluded that both ads had strong appeal to under 18s, breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 11.8.2 (a) (Alcoholic drinks) and should not be shown again.

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