WKD Advert Censorship…How ASA go about the politically correct censorship of the truth about alcohol

Posted: 2 April, 2014 in ASA Advert Censor
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Read more ASA Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

wkd karaoke advertSurely alcohol enhances confidence, is integral to the success of a social event, and is certainly capable of changing mood or behaviour…But…ASA won’t allow advertisers to mention thebleedin’ obvious. ASA writes:

The Facebook page for WKD showed various ads:

  • a. A post featured an image which stated WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST and showed a bottle of WKD.

  • b. Information in the advertiser’s About section stated Where there’s good times, there’s WKD. We’re all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself – especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved! .

  • c. A post stated HAIRCUT? [tick] WKD? [tick] UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER? [tick] Have you got a WKD side? and showed a bottle of WKD.

  • d. Three images showed a cartoon character dressed in a suit and tie and a hat which stated HEAD OF WKD WEEKENDS across the top. The first was used as the background photo for the Facebook page. The second was used alongside the text DON’T MESS WITH CATHERINE WHEELS. HER BOYFRIEND’S MASSIVE . The third was used alongside the text REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER. IS BIN DAY . Issue

The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council challenged whether the ads were irresponsible, because:

  1. Ad (a) implied that alcohol could enhance confidence;

  2. Ad (a) suggested that alcohol was capable of changing mood and behaviour;

  3. Ads (a), (b) and (c) suggested that alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event; and

  4. Ads (c) and (d) were likely to appeal to under 18-year-olds and youth culture. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.318.1418.218.318.7 Response

ASA Assessment

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged Beverage Brand’s willingness to make changes and that ad (a) did not show alcohol being consumed. However, we considered it was clearly an ad for a brand of alcoholic drink and noted that a bottle of WKD was prominently shown. We considered British consumers were likely to understand karaoke to be an activity that often took place after alcohol had been consumed and that, in some instances, reluctance to participate might be lessened after drinking alcohol. We considered that, particularly in the context of an ad for an alcoholic drink, the text YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that alcohol could enhance confidence and was also capable of changing mood and behaviour. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

3. Upheld

We considered ad (a) was likely to be interpreted to mean that those at a social occasion involving karaoke would be willing to participate only once they had consumed alcohol. We therefore considered it implied that alcohol was a key component of the success of that occasion.

We noted ad (b) included general references to the weekend and to socialising with friends. However, we considered the text Where there’s good times, there’s WKD , which also appeared under the image of a man in a hat labelled HEAD OF WKD WEEKENDS and images of the products, was likely to be understood to mean that successful weekends involved the alcoholic drink WKD. We therefore considered it implied that alcohol was a key component of the success of social occasions.

We noted ad (c) presented a checklist, which showed elements that related to a social occasion next to ticks. We considered the ad would be understood to mean that WKD, the alcoholic drink referred to in the list and also shown prominently in the accompanying image, was an important element of the social occasion in question. We therefore considered ad (c) also implied alcohol was a key component of the success of a social occasion.

For the reasons given, we concluded that the ads breached the Code.

4. Not upheld

We considered ad (c), by referring to an UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER , could be seen as a reflection of an immature mentality in those interested in meeting members of the opposite sex on a night out. However, we considered the ad, which was available to view only by those aged over 18, was not likely to have particular appeal to under-18s by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.

We noted ad (d), which was also available to view only by those over 18, showed brightly coloured drinks, lights and fireworks, and that the use of cartoons in general could appeal to children. We considered the image of a male character in a suit, and wearing dark sunglasses and a hat, although cartoon-like in appearance, was also not such that it was likely to have particular appeal to under-18s. We also considered the overall impression of the ad, while light hearted and colourful, was such that it was clearly intended to appeal to those interested in adult social occasions, rather than having particular appeal to under-18s.

Ads (a), (b) and (c) must not appear again in their current form. We told Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd to ensure their future advertising did not imply alcohol could enhance confidence, was integral to the success of a social event, or was capable of changing mood or behaviour.

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