Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.
Two Facebook posts advertising Coco Beach Monday’s club night at Lola Lo:
a. A post seen on their own Facebook page on 13 April 2017 included a picture of a female with her head titled back, her mouth wide open, her tongue extended out of her mouth and liquid being dropped in her eye with the accompanying text “FREE BUBBLY & VIP FOR GROUPS DISCOUNTED DRINKS & BIG TUNES ALL NIGHT.”
b. An event invite for the Coco Beach Mondays club night seen on the complainants Facebook feed on 13 April 2017 included the same picture as above with the accompanying text “Nice artwork … haha leaving to the imagination whats [sic] out of shot!”.
The ASA challenged whether the ads:
1. linked alcohol with sexual activity; and
2. featured alcohol being served irresponsibly.
The ASA also received two complaints:
3. Both complainants believed that the image was sexually explicit and objectified women and challenged whether the ads were offensive.
Harvey Herdman t/a Coco Beach Mondays did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Coco Beach Monday’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, and ruled that they had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.
We considered that the way the model was posed with her head titled back, her mouth wide open with her tongue extended out and the liquid being poured out of shot, meant that the image was inherently sexual in nature. We considered that although the exact type of liquid being poured in to the models eye was not revealed in the image, it was heavily implied to be alcohol. Further, the text contained in the image promoted “free bubbly” and “discounted drinks” available at the club night. We therefore considered that because the image used in the ads was inherently sexual in nature and the text promoted free alcohol at the event, that it linked alcohol with sexual activity and therefore breached the Code.
On this point, the ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.5 18.5 Marketing communications must neither link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success nor imply that alcohol can enhance attractiveness. (Alcohol).
The ads demonstrated alcohol being administered through the eyeball, known as “eyeballing.” This method of alcohol consumption had associated health risks. We concluded that the ads portrayed a style of drinking that was unwise and showed alcohol being handled irresponsibly and therefore was in breach of the Code.
On this point, the ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.11 18.11 Marketing communications must not feature alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly. (Alcohol).
We considered the image used in the ads to be sexually gratuitous and provocative, and that it mimicked the style of facial pornography. This was further emphasised in ad (b) by the accompanying comment, which stated that the Facebook user should imagine where the liquid came from. We considered that the image that appeared in both ads, taken together with the sexually suggestive comment that accompanied ad (b), objectified women. We therefore considered that the ads were sexist and likely to cause serious wide spread offence.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule
Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.
Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. (Harm and offence).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Coco Beach Monday’s to ensure their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society, and to ensure they did not link alcohol to sexual activity or to show alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly. Further, we told them that they should ensure their ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.