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Complaint against Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila upheld

Model Kendall Jenner has removed an Instagram post of her 818 Tequila after a complaint that it promoted irresponsible drinking was upheld.

Kendall Jenner 818 Tequila
The model has been accused of “touting overconsumption” with her Instagram posts

Jenner, who rose to fame on reality show Keeping Up with The Kardashians, released Tequila 818 in May 2021.

A complaint was recently filed to trade association the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) by an ‘unnamed industry member’, accusing Jenner of promoting overconsumption of alcohol based on three of her Instagram posts featuring 818 Tequila.

One post showed Jenner drinking from an 818 Tequila bottle through a straw. The remaining two pictures both displayed the model holding a plate of tumblers containing the Tequila in a party setting.

The complainant argued the three social media posts breached Responsible Content Provision rules as laid out by Discus.

Regarding the Instagram post featuring Jenner drinking from an 818 bottle through a straw, the complainant referenced subsection B1 of the rules, which stated “beverage alcohol advertising and marketing materials should portray… products and drinkers in a responsible manner”.

818 Tequila
Credit: Instagram @kendalljenner

The complainant used B1 to underpin the following statement: “818 Tequila’s post – which features Ms Jenner using a straw to consume from the full-sized bottle – defies such standards of responsible consumption.

“As a result, the effect of this picture is clear: glamourising the overconsumption of alcohol. Indeed, the irresponsibility of this portrayal has been widely reported by individual viewers of the post and the media.”

Outlets the drinks business, Buzzfeed, and MSN have reported on the posts promoting irresponsible drinking, using comments from an online forum as a basis for the suggestion.

The advertiser of 818 Tequila responded with the following: “We note that the complaining industry member… has attempted to bolster their complaint regarding Ms Jenner’s post by referencing three dubious internet-based reports, all of which cite back to the same unverified sources on [online forum] Reddit as a basis for its belief that the posts did not ‘portray beverage alcohol products and drinkers in a responsible manner’.”

‘Touting overconsumption’

Regarding the other two posts displaying Jenner and tumblers of Tequila, the complainant said the pictures were “touting overconsumption”, and promoted and idealised this “lifestyle”.

The advertiser rejected this notion, stating the complainant has mischaracterised “the glassware”, “making presumptions about the contents and size of the glasses”. The advertiser went on to say that the glasses were partially filled, and those in the picture were not seen consuming the Tequila.


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A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner)

The advertiser revealed that it had requested Kendall Jenner personally remove the Instagram post featuring the consumption of tequila through a straw, however.

The advertiser concluded: “As a new and rapidly growing brand, 818 Tequila is currently implementing additional advertising and social media compliance policies” and “incorporating Discus guidance into its compliance materials”.

Discus concluded the post featuring the bottle and straw did breach its Code of Responsible Practices, as the bottle contained “numerous servings of Tequila”. As a result, Jenner has removed the post.

Celebrities not ‘exempt’

The complainant also pointed out that Jenner’s personal Instagram account was not exempt from Discus’ code of reach, given that it was “widely reported” that 818 Tequila was her “personal project and business venture”.

The complainant added that, with the growth of celebrity affiliation with spirits brands, brands have come to “rely on the outsized social media fanbases of those celebrities to advertise to potentially much larger audiences”, referencing 818 Tequila’s following of 839,000 users versus Jenner’s 220m at the time of filing the complaint.

818 Tequila also recently found itself in conflict with Texan brand Tequila 512, which has accused 818 Tequila of alleged trademark infringement.



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