A TV ad, for an alcoholic frozen cocktail drink, seen on Film4 at 6 pm during the film King Solomon's Mines, featured a colourful animated parrot in a tropical setting, who was shown being frozen and squawking. The voice-over stated, "Take the best of the Caribbean. Freeze it then crush it up and squeeze it out. Parrot Bay freeze and squeeze cocktails. Now available in passion fruit caipirinha flavour". On-screen text stated "FREEZE A PARROT TODAY…CONTAINS ALCOHOL".
One viewer, who believed the ad would appeal strongly to children, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.
Diageo Great Britain Ltd said the ad was aimed at an adult audience. They pointed out that the setting was a Caribbean beach bar, with a mature-looking bartender and adult couples in the scene. They said that the adult crowd in the background emphasised the overall tone of the ad. They explained that the macaw character was created from the product’s logo through a detailed technical process, which involved studying footage of real parrot movements and noises to give the character a real-life quality. They pointed out that they had not given the character a voice and were careful to ensure it did not talk, and had included a statement on the last frame that stated "contains alcohol", which they said reinforced the impression that the product was for adults. They said similar ads with the parrot had appeared in other campaigns, and they had not received any complaints about those ads having appeal to children. They explained that they had commissioned a market research organisation to carry out consumer research on the product, which showed 75% of consumers who were aware of the brand were aged 25 or over, 25% were aged 18 to 24, while 79% of the consumers who had tried the product were aged 25 or over and 21% were aged 18 to 24. They said the research also found that 43% found the ad humorous, 40% found the ad original and 82% did not find the ad to be childish. They said the ad was scheduled during a film which was made in 1985, and, therefore, was unlikely to appeal to children. They pointed out that the viewing data showed that 95% of the audience were 18 or over. They said, for those reasons, they did not believe the ad was irresponsible.
Clearcast said that the parrot was realistic, rather than cute or endearing and, therefore, was unlikely to have youth appeal. They said they did not believe the ad would appeal strongly to under 18-year olds and the ad did not reflect youth culture or show adolescent or juvenile behaviour. They considered the ad had been prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society.
The ASA considered the animated colourful parrot and its behaviour, including the slapstick humour, with the parrot being frozen, moving its eyes in a comical fashion and falling off the bar, was likely to strongly appeal to children. We also considered the parrot's squawk and conversational noises, which were directed at the viewer, along with the Caribbean-style music, beach scenery and the colourful crystal-ice appearance of the drink also contributed to an impression that was likely to appeal to children. While we noted the final frame included the text "CONTAINS ALCOHOL", we considered that this was not sufficient to ensure children would not take an interest in the ad, and, instead, the "FREEZE A PARROT TODAY" slogan, which was larger and more prominent on the screen, referred back to the slapstick humour previously shown and, therefore, also represented a concept that was likely to appeal to children. Because we considered the ad, particularly the parrot character and its behaviour was likely to appeal strongly to children, we concluded the ad was irresponsible.
Investigated under BCAP Code rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Responsible advertising) and 19.15.1 19.15.1 be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture or showing adolescent or juvenile behaviour (Alcohol).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Diageo Great Britain Ltd to ensure that future marketing communications did not have a strong appeal to children.