ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd
Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd
2440 The Quadrant
9 June 2004
Objection to a poster, for WKD vodka, that was headlined "An oldie. But a goodie". It showed a man sitting on a photocopier with his trousers and underwear around his ankles, laughing at a photocopy; his groin area was obscured by the flash from the photocopier. Next to the photocopier was a photograph of a bottle of the drink with the strapline "Have you got a WKD side?"
1. The complainant objected that the image of the man and the text "An oldie. But a goodie" was offensive and demeaning because it implied the man was photocopying his genitals or bottom.
2. The Authority challenged whether the poster was irresponsible because it condoned excessive alcohol consumption, depicted an unwise practice and portrayed an activity that was likely to appeal to children.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers said any offence caused by the poster was unintentional and exceptional; they said it was intended to be a light-hearted appeal to their target audience of men and women aged 18-24 years. They said the image was chosen to be unreal with a plain background and a man who was obviously older than their target audience. They said they did not intend to use the poster again.
1. Complaint not upheld
The advertisers believed the poster was not offensive or demeaning. They said they had used funny images and words and the question "Have you got a WKD side?" to associate the brand with a "WKD" sense of humour; they believed the man shown in the poster was enjoying the joke, not the butt of it. Although it noted the poster had offended the complainant, the Authority considered that the image was likely to be seen as tongue-in-cheek and, because the flash of the photocopier obscured the man''s groin area, was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen as demeaning. The Authority did not object on that point.
The advertisers asserted that the poster was not intended to depict real life, did not show the consumption of alcohol and did not encourage emulation of the activity portrayed. They believed the older man shown would be seen to be unlikely to consume WKD vodka. They said that, although the image could be reproduced in practice, they believed it had been presented in a manner that made it obvious that it was not a real-life event. The advertisers said children would be unlikely to have unsupervised access to photocopiers and that photocopying was mainly an office-based activity. The Authority considered that the poster was unlikely to encourage children to emulate the practice shown in the advertisement. It nevertheless considered that, because the man shown sitting on the photocopier could be seen to be an inebriated role model behaving immaturely, the advertisement was irresponsible. The Authority considered that, in the context of an advertisement for an alcoholic drink, the image and text were likely to be interpreted as condoning excessive alcohol consumption and depicting an unwise practice. The Authority told the advertisers not to repeat the approach and advised them to consult the CAP Copy Advice team before advertising again.