ASA bans Absolut Facebook advert

23rd November, 2017 by Nicola Carruthers

The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned a Facebook advertisement by Absolut vodka, upholding a complaint that it featured people who appeared to be under the age of 25.

ASA bans an Absolut Facebook post that featured a group of people who appeared to be under 25

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint against a sponsored Facebook post by the Pernod Ricard-owned vodka brand, seen on 9 August 2017, that featured a video of a group of young people sitting on a boat.

The ASA said that Absolut had breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rule as the number of individuals who featured prominently in the ad appeared to be younger than 25 years of age.

The ASA noted that during the ad, the camera focused on all of the individuals in the boat and, in the context of a short ad, featured prominently. It was also noted that the individuals were shown dancing and using their mobile phones to record the experience, which was likely to be seen to reflect adolescent culture, according to the ASA.

Absolut said that all of the individuals featured in the ad were 25 years or older, and provided copies of their identification as proof.

Additionally, Absolut said they recognised that whether an individual “appeared” to be under 25 years was a subjective area. They confirmed that it was not their intention to portray them as such. They said that the use of mobile phones for recording was a widespread activity across all generations and not prevalent with solely under 25-year-olds.

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, and told Absolut to ensure that their ads did not feature people who looked under 25 years of age in a significant role.

“As a producer, we are committed to responsible advertising, and we work closely with organisations such as the Portman Group, Drinkaware and CAP in the development of both campaign materials and products, and to run regular training programmes for our employees,” a Pernod Ricard spokesperson said in a statement.

“We respect the ASA’s ruling, and of course will not feature this advert again. However, we are disappointed this complaint was upheld, given the ASA acknowledged that all of the individuals featured were over the age of 25, and we provided identification documents accordingly. Whether an individual ‘appears’ to be under the age of 25 is a very subjective thing.”

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