A Facebook ad and a flyer, for a student club night at Eat My Disco in Sheffield, seen on 12 September 2011, stated GET LAID! EVERY TUESDAY AT REPUBLICA 20TH SEPT FRESHERS SHUTTER SHADES RAVE! FREE SHUTTER SHADES FOR ALL!. Text in a pink circle stated ?1.50 DRINKS ALL NIGHT. The ad featured a variety of pictures of young people in the club including one of a woman wearing a cropped top and shorts. A speech bubble coming from her shorts had text which stated YOU’RE GOING TO GET LAID!.
- A complainant, who believed the ad depicted people under 16 years of age, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible because it sexualised children.
- The ASA challenged whether the ad, which referred to alcohol, breached the Code because it: linked alcohol with sexual success and sexual activity; and
- featured people under 25 years of age in significant roles.
1. Eat My Disco (EMD) said nobody under the age of 18 years of age was shown in the ad. They said the pictures used were taken at their previous events where strict ID checks were in place and believed that no one featured appeared to be under 16. They said, however, the speech bubble coming from the girl’s shorts was an error and should have been shown coming from her mouth.
2. EMD said the campaign did refer to cheap drinks prices, but at no point did it link the drinks to sexual success. They argued that the drinks prices on the literature appeared only as a standalone piece of information and that the ad did not imply in any way that, by drinking, people would become more attractive or find the opposite sex more attractive.
3. EMD reiterated that nobody under the age of 18 was shown in the ad. They said they had previously been unaware of the requirement in the Code regarding under-25s in alcohol ads but would ensure that they complied with it in future.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted the complainant’s concerns about the suggestive nature of the ad and the age of the people featured. While we took those concerns seriously we considered that, although the women were obviously young, they did not appear to be under 16 years of age and, in the context of the nightclub scenario shown, were likely to be seen as young adults by the majority of readers. We therefore considered that the ad neither depicted nor sexualised children and was not irresponsible.
We noted that the ad had appeared on a Facebook page accessible only to fans of EMD and had been distributed as a flyer in student unions and halls and considered that the vast majority of recipients would be adult students who could choose whether or not to accept the flyer. Although we considered that the statements GET LAID! and You’re going to GET LAID! were clearly sexual references, we noted that the ad did not contain any sexual imagery or graphic content and considered that its content, while likely to be distasteful to some, was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to the student audience at whom it was targeted.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
We considered that the statements GET LAID! and You’re going to GET LAID! were clearly intended to be humorous references to attending the event with a view to finding a sexual partner. We noted that the ad also stated ฃ1.50 DRINKS ALL NIGHT and we considered that, by including a reference to alcohol alongside the sexually suggestive text, the ad breached the Code by linking alcohol with sexual success and sexual activity.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 18.5 (Alcohol).
We noted that the Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks and marketing communications that feature or refer to alcoholic drinks should not show people who were, or appeared to be, under 25 years of age in a significant role. We noted, however, that the ad included the price for alcoholic drinks at the event and considered that the majority of the people pictured in the ad featured prominently and looked under 25. We noted that EMD could only provide an assurance that the people were over 18. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code on this point.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 18.16 (Alcohol).