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ASA bans alcohol ads starring rapper ArrDee

Three Instagram posts for Litty Liquor’s spiced rum featuring its founder, rapper ArrDee, have been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog.

Litty Liquor's spiced rum
Instagram posts for ArrDee’s spiced rum, 4Realli, have been taken down

English rapper Riley Davies, known professionally as ArrDee, launched spiced rum 4Realli as the first product in his Litty Liquor range last year.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints against three Litty Liquor Instagram posts, published in December 2022, as they breached its Cap Code for featuring someone under the age of 25.

The CAP Code states that people shown drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in marketing or alcohol must not be, or appear to be, under 25 years of age.

The 20-year-old rapper was the main focus of the images in each post, the ASA said.

Brighton-born ArrDee was also shown to be consuming alcohol in one of the posts.

In response to the complaint, Litty Liquor apologised for ArrDee’s presence in the ads and accepted that they breached the ASA’s Code.

Furthermore, one of the posts was challenged for its use of the phrase ‘Get Lit’ which was thought to have encouraged excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

This post featured shots of ArrDee trying a series of different alcoholic drinks in a nightclub environment, before creating his own blend of spiced rum in a distillery, then drinking it in a nightclub where he was joined by a larger crowd. The text ‘#GETLIT’ was shown on screen.

The ASA said it understood that the term ‘lit’ was used as slang for being drunk, and had also become popular in rap music to suggest intoxication. Furthermore, the watchdog recognised that in recent years the word suggested something ‘exciting, or of an excellent quality’.

However, in its ruling, the ASA said its use of the term in a nightclub setting and the focus on creating and drinking an alcoholic product would be interpreted by consumers as being related to alcohol consumption.

As such, the ASA upheld the complaint that the post was likely to encourage excessive alcohol consumption.

Litty Liquor and ArrDee said they had not meant to use the phrase in this way and claimed they ‘intended to promote their products in a responsible and appropriate manner’.

As a result, the brand removed the posts from their platform and said it would review its advertising policies and procedures.

Over the past year, the ASA has also banned ads from celebrity-backed alcohol brands such as Ellie Goulding’s Served hard seltzer and chef Gordon Ramsay’s gin.

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