A TV ad, on 29 June 2011, showed, in black and white, various people walking from the street down into an underground nightclub. Text projected on the exterior wall of the club stated FIND THE VENUE YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED, text above the staircase into the club stated FIND THE DOOR YOU NEVER NOTICED. The ad then showed the dance floor of the club and various people dancing to music in slow motion amid flashing lights. Text projected on the wall of the club stated FIND THE CROWD WHO THINK EVERY NIGHT IS FRIDAY NIGHT. Superimposed text at the bottom of the screen stated Enjoy Kopparberg Responsibly. The ad then cut to a colour product shot of three Kopparberg cider bottles turning towards the viewer. On-screen text then stated PREMIUM CIDER KOPPARBERG FIND KOPPARBERG.COM. Issue
One viewer challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 years of age.
Cider of Sweden Ltd (COS) said all of the actors in the ad were aged 25 or over and that no one was seen drinking or holding a drink. They said the product itself did not appear until the end frame and was therefore disassociated with the nightclub scenes in the ad.
COS said the ad’s target audience was over-25s. They said they had used photography featuring a gig with an undiscovered new band and had aimed the creative treatment squarely at an older, more mature audience. COS said the song featured in the ad was by a band called Sleigh Bells who they had chosen because their age range and target audience were over 25.
Clearcast said the ad’s message was about trying something different and being alternative. They said the people featured were shown listening to great music and having a good time without the need for alcohol. They said they had made enquiries about the target audience of the band whose music featured in the ad and had received a CV from the band’s record company that had assured them that the band’s target audience were aged over 25 years. They pointed out that the ASA had received only one complaint, and believed that the ad did not breach the Code.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA noted that COS and Clearcast had argued that the people in the ad were not seen drinking and were not under 25, however we also noted that the BCAP Code required that TV alcohol ads must not be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18, irrespective of the age of the actors or how, if or when the product itself was featured.
We noted that the ad showed people walking through a back alley at night before going down some stairs into an underground venue where people were shown dancing in slow motion to a live band. We considered that that scenario was likely to be attractive to a range of viewers, but that a hidden venue where people were dancing to live music was likely to be seen as particularly attractive by viewers under 18. We considered that that impression was reinforced by the statements projected on the walls outside and inside the venue and particularly the statement FIND THE CROWD WHO THINK EVERY NIGHT IS FRIDAY NIGHT which we considered conveyed the message that viewers should seek out fun and excitement at every opportunity, and was likely to enhance the appeal of the scenario to an under 18 audience.
We noted that the music featured was a song by an American noise-pop band called Sleigh Bells and we considered that the heavy baseline and distorted female vocals, were also likely to draw the attention of viewers under 18 and we were also concerned that the song itself was called Kids. We noted that COS had argued that they had chosen the band specifically because their target audience were aged over 25 and we understood, from the Spotify and MySpace data that the band’s primary audience were of around that age. We noted however, particularly from the MySpace data, that the band did still have a following amongst under-18s, albeit a less extensive one, and therefore did still have an attraction for that age group.
We concluded that the overall impression of the scenario and music combined was one that was likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 and was irresponsible.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social Responsibility) and 19.15.1 (Rules that apply to alcohol advertisements).