Complaint against Captain Morgan tweet dismissed

7th June, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

A promoted tweet for Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand has been cleared of breaching advertising laws after a complaint that it appealed to children was not upheld.

Captain Morgan has been once again hit by advertising complaints

Captain Morgan has been once again hit by advertising complaints

The tweet, seen on 18 September 2017, stated “When your student loan hits your bank account…Like if you’re celebrating! #Freshers #LikeACaptain”. It was accompanied by a two-second gif of a smiling pirate fist pumping the air.

UK regulatory body the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated the complainant’s three issues including whether the tweet encouraged irresponsible spending on alcohol amongst students, if it was of particular appeal to people under the legal drinking age of 18, and if it was inappropriately targeted at people under 18.

Diageo argued that the “humorous” tone and content of the ad was “designed to be conversational and to play on events to which students could relate – the receipt of a student loan”. The UK drinks giant added that it did not show alcohol being consumed or show any alcohol products.

The drinks firm also said they had “taken all reasonable steps” to guarantee the content was not seen by people under the age of 18 by delivering and targeting the tweet at Twitter users who were registered as 18 years old or above.

The ASA noted that the ad referred to “freshers” and was posted during freshers’ week – the first week of the first academic year at university and at a time when students receive their first student loan payments.

“We considered that people would understand that the ad was light-heartedly implying that students could spend some of their student loan money on socialising and alcohol,” the ASA said.

“While the ad played on that implication, we did not consider it explicitly or assertively encouraged the spending of student loan payments on alcohol.”

The ASA also ruled that the ad was not “associated with youth culture” and therefore “could not appeal strongly to under-18s.”

The ASA added that Twitter is “primarily used by those aged 18 and over and Captain Morgan had targeted the ad at users registered as 18 and over, and because the interest-based targeting helped further exclude under-18s from the target audience, we concluded that the ad had not been directed at those under 18”.

This is not the first Captain Morgan advertisement to come under fire by the ASA. In January this year, Diageo pulled its Snapchat advertising globally after the ASA banned a Captain Morgan lens.

A television advert for the rum brand in 2016 was also banned for implying that alcohol can increase an individual’s popularity or confidence.

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