ASA bans Captain Morgan Snapchat ad

3rd January, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned a Snapchat advertisement for Diageo’s Captain Morgan rum brand, upholding a complaint that it appealed to people under the age of 18.

The ASA has banned a Captain Morgan ad on Snapchat, claiming it appealed to children

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint again the Snapchat ‘lens’ advertising that featured a cartoon icon of a pirate, allowing the user’s face to look like Captain Morgan.

The advert, seen in June 2017, also included two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink clinking together on screen.

On-screen text stating ‘Live like the Captain’ and a voice-over that said ‘Captain’ also featured.

The ASA challenged whether the lens was of particular appeal to people under the age of 18 and if it was directed at people under the age of 18.

Diageo defended the advert, claiming that the image of Captain Morgan in the lens was “consistent with the brand trademark and packaging that depicted a historical buccaneer in traditional seventeenth century attire”.

The UK firm said it was intended to be “light-hearted with no comedic movement of the face”.

The ASA said: “We considered that the specific interactive and augmented elements of the lens, such as the user’s face being made to look like a buccaneer, the clinking glasses, references to “Captain” and the cheering, were likely to appeal particularly to those under 18.”

It also noted that Diageo had not taken “sufficient care” to ensure that the advert was not targeted at children as data that Diageo had acquired from Snapchat at the time was inadequate. The ASA said: “At the time the lens ran, the only targeting data available to Diageo on Snapchat was unverified supplied ages collected when users signed up and geolocation information.”

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form and told Diageo to ensure its ads were appropriately targeted in the future and that they were not of particular appeal to under 18s.

In a statement to The Spirits Business, a Diageo spokesperson said: “We have a strict marketing code, take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously and acknowledge the ASA’s ruling. We took all reasonable steps to ensure the content we put on Snapchat was not directed at under 18s – using the data provided to us by Snapchat and applying an age filter.

“We have now stopped all advertising on Snapchat globally whilst we assess the incremental age verification safeguards that Snapchat are implementing.”

This is not the first Captain Morgan advertisement to be banned by the ASA. In August 2016, a television advert for the rum brand was banned for implying that alcohol can increase an individual’s popularity or confidence.

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