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ASA raps MTV for broadcasting alcohol ads

Complaints against MTV for airing alcohol adverts during reality TV series Geordie Shore have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Geordie Shore
Eight episodes of the reality TV show were found to have broken the guidelines

Under the UK advertising code, alcohol adverts are banned from appearing in or around programmes targeted at or likely to appeal to under-18s, and eight episodes of the reality TV show broadcast on MTV in December last year were found to have broken these rules.

Programmes likely to appeal particularly to under-18s are identified through audience indexing, a statistical tool which calculates the likely number of 10- to 15-year-olds in relation to the audience as a whole.

An index of 120 would mean that 10- to 15-year-olds are 20% over-represented in the programme audience.

Geordie Shore was found to air 22 alcohol ads in eight programmes where the audience index broke 120, so the ASA concluded that “action should have been taken to restrict alcohol ads in the programmes when recent data indicated they were likely to appeal particularly to under-18s”.

MTV disagreed with the ruling, and responded to say that Geordie Shore is “a reality show with extreme content” and that “no attempt had ever been made to make the programme appeal to under-18s”.

The show is in its tenth series on MTV, which said its “mature tone and content” meant that Geordie Shore was firmly recognised as an adult show.

A statement by the ASA read: “We told MTV to ensure they used the best available data in their scheduling decisions and to act upon changes in the index.”

In 2013, a number of UK television stations were reprimanded by the ASA for airing alcohol advertisements when children might be watching.


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