A blog entry titled RASPBERRY HEAT WAVE stated Colour blocking is the hot clothing trend of 2011. Everyone from Chezza to Nicole Scherzinger to Leona Lewis are getting their bright colour game on. As a very brightly coloured bunch, we’re bang into it too! We’ve been seing [sic] loads of pink, which we LOVE – as it’s totally an homage to our new Sourz Raspberry flavour Pink is not just for girls either … lads have been getting in on the trend too with raspberry skinny jeans, shirts, belts and ties. Don’t believe us? Check out this lot, who were more than happy to strike a pose and show off their latest colours on Threadz . Images showed male and female models in various outfits, with each photo including glasses of brightly coloured pink (and in one case green) drink. Issue
Alcohol Concern, on behalf of the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC), challenged whether:
- the models shown were under 25 years of age, because they believed some of them appeared to be under 18 years of age; and
- the references to celebrities and the use of an emoticon winking smiley face were likely to appeal to people under 18.
Maxxium UK Ltd provided photographic ID for each of the models, including their dates of birth and their ages. They said the five models were aged 29, 27, 26, 25 and 25 at the time of the launch, but acknowledged that one of the models was just short of her 25th birthday at the time of the shoot.
2. They said the Sourz blog was hosted on a website which could only be accessed once a date of birth was provided and which stopped anyone under the age of 18 from legally seeing any content on the website, including the blog. They considered that all the website content appealed to and was exclusively consumed by people of a legal drinking age and if anyone under the age of 18 attempted to access the site they were re-directed to drinkaware.co.uk in line with their commitment to responsible marketing of alcohol.
They referred to Yahoo Survey research, which found that respondents from the ages of 19 to 25 were the most avid emoticon users, with 68% in this age group using emoticons on a daily basis, but that it was not just the younger generation who embraced emoticons, with nearly half (48%) of respondents over the age of 50 using emoticons in their everyday communication.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
We noted that the Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks should not show people who were, or appeared to be, under 25 years of age in a significant role. Although we noted that the models were all over 25 when the shoot was published, we nonetheless considered that some of the models in the fashion shot, namely the girl featured in the pink dress and turquoise cardigan and the girl in the hat, would be considered to be some years under the age of 25 by many consumers, and could be seen by some consumers as being under 18. Although the models were not featured drinking, we noted that the shoot appeared to have taken place in a bar and that Sourz drinks appeared in some of the images. We also understood that one theme of the shoot was homage to our new Sourz Raspberry flavour .
Because we considered that two of the models, who featured prominently in the images, were likely to be seen by consumers as under 25, we concluded the ad breached the Code.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.16 (Alcohol).
We noted that the blog used informal, colloquial language, including the use of a winking emoticon, and considered that that tone and approach were youth-orientated and likely to appeal to young people. We also noted that one aspect of the fashion shoot was to promote brightly coloured, fun fashion, which the ad claimed was likely to be worn by celebrities like Cheryl Cole, Nicole Scherzinger and Leona Lewis, and we considered that the ad associated that fashion style with the alcoholic Sourz drink. We noted that the celebrities mentioned were pop singers, associated with the X-Factor, who were popular with under 18s. We also considered that the models looked very young, with some models appearing to be around 18 years old, and, in light of that, considered that the fashion shoot would appeal to young people, rather than an older readership.
Because of the colloquial language, young-looking models and the references to X-Factor celebrities in the ad, we considered that it would have particular appeal to young people and concluded, in an ad promoting an alcoholic drink, that that approach was irresponsible and in breach of the Code.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.14 (Alcohol).