Wednesday 16 January 2013

Banned advertising

Nicolites have had their television (?) advert banned because it was unable to prove its claim that e-cigarette vapour is 100% safe. Fair enough. They shouldn't have made the claim; even nicotine patches don't claim to be 100% safe (nicotine affects the heart rate). I'm surprised they didn't get their script checked over more thoroughly, but I'm sure they'll be back on the telly (?) soon.

It did, however, remind me to tell you about the temperance lobby's obsessive complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency. In 2011, Alcohol Concern set up a front group called the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council which has been bombarding the Advertising Standards Agency with frivolous complaints ever since. The project has not been terribly successful, as their presentation at last year's Al Con conference shows. These are the three case studies they highlighted...



In the ad Bacardi facilitates the young men to meet the young women and ultimately sexual success, which is not explicitly portrayed but is obviously alluded to throughout, in breach of the spirit if not the wording of the code.

ASA's response

‘Whilst we appreciate your concern... We do not consider the ad is likely to suggest sexual success as a result of alcohol consumption.... The ad showed a group of adult friends on a night out in a bar and covered later activities over an extended time.’



The ad, clearly targeted at female consumers communicates the message that drinking enhances confidence. YAAC particularly objected to the ‘I am what I am’ scene which linked alcohol with improved self- confidence.

ASA's response

‘Whilst we appreciate your concern... No one in the ad was seen drinking... The message consumers were likely to take was that people like those in the ad, who were a little extrovert, were likely to enjoy the product’



The message ‘Don’t wait for an extraordinary night, make one” - followed by lingering shots of Smirnoff - strongly implied alcohol was essential for a special night out.

ASA's response

‘Whilst we appreciate your concern... None of the characters were seen drinking...the references to alcohol were brief and were unlikely to be interpreted as key to the social events portrayed.’

It seems that this band of fresh-faced Mary Whitehouses have had little success getting alcohol adverts off the telly, so it's all been a waste of Comic Relief's money (for it is they who fund it). But the story has a punchline. At the same Alcohol Concern conference, the temperance quango Balance NorthEast gave a presentation about its 'See What Sam Sees' campaign which campaigns for a ban on alcohol advertising.

Balance NorthEast is one of the country's most flagrant examples of a government sock puppet. Entirely taxpayer-funded, it engages in blatantly lobbying, campaigning and petition-gathering whilst pretending to be an independent organisation. Following the anti-tobacco blueprint to the letter, it takes the "population level de-normalisation approach" and aims to "follow success and learn lessons from the regional tobacco control office, Fresh."

See What Sam Sees was an expensive attempt at government-lobbying-government which included a television ad. But guess what...

An advert highlighting the dangers alcohol advertising poses to youngsters in the North East has been banned from being aired on television.

Oh woe, why so?

The regulator says...

TV scripts viewed as "campaigning"

Rejected under Rule 7 BCAP code

The Communications At 2003 prohibits political advertising.

(7.22 b) bringing about changes of the law in the whole or a part of the United Kingdom or elsewhere, or otherwise influencing the legislative process in any country or territory

(7.22c) influencing the policies or decisions of local, regional or national governments, whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere

What a pity.


Bucko said...

Oh dear! Heh.

Ivan D said...

What I find most disturbing about this post is the way in which the campaigners portrayed are quite happy to put words in children's mouths and use them as political tools. I genuinely cannot think of a good reason why Comic Relief would feel it acceptable to be associated with such behaviour.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Yes,a little odd claiming 100% safe. No need. Skycig also has a TV ad out, starting yesterday

Dick Puddlecote said...

Yep, Balance were dead sore about the ruling too. They simply don't understand why government lobbying government is so wrong.

Our advert is being shown online, rather than on TV, because the advertising watchdog ruled that it contravenes regulations which prevent organisations lobbying Government. While we do not object to the judgement in principle, we do question whether it is correct that an advert which seeks to protect and improve public health is banned while the alcohol industry bypasses the regulations on a regular basis.

I wonder if they've ever thought that the best way to get their ad on TV would be to reject taxpayer money. Or perhaps they care more about that than thinking of the children. ;)

Michael said...

The only time I thought Lambrini advertising was a littl "off kilter", well other than not being a decent wine obviously... Was the slogan "Girls just want to be Footballer's wives". I honestly and still think girls should have higher standards!

Unknown said...

I'm surprised that more adverts don't get turned over by the standards agencies. I helped out on a few TV ads with but we never dabbled in anything too close to the line. We did, however, have a client approach which never amounted to anything which would have put us close! Let's just say it was akin to Durex's "Sex on TV" commercial...