An online competition, seen on the advertiser’s website on 28 January 2016, encouraged consumers to submit photos of bottles of Bulmer’s cider in order to win a pair of personalised high-top trainers.
Alcohol Concern, who believed high-top trainers were associated with youth culture, challenged whether the competition would have particular appeal to people under 18 years of age.
Heineken UK Ltd stated that the website was created to support an on-pack promotion campaign that ran in the summer of 2015 and ended in December 2015. It provided consumers with information on how to enter the competition and claim prizes.
They said that Converse high-top trainers were chosen as a prize that would appeal to the brand’s core target market of 25- to 35-year-olds, as well as older consumers who would not respond to other “high-fashion” sports brands. They understood that the brand had a very broad age appeal. Data from a UK purchasing intent survey conducted by TGI showed that only 8% of intended purchases came from 15- to 17-year-olds, while the largest proportion (26.2%) came from the 25 to 34 age bracket, corresponding to the core target market for the Bulmer’s brand.
They stated that Converse had been a recognisable and iconic brand since the 1960s and was established in popular culture. Their trainers had been seen on a range of famous figures of varying ages. Therefore, the advertiser did not believe that the trainers were particularly associated with youth culture or likely to appeal disproportionately to under-18s.
They said that website on which the ad appeared was age-gated, the fact that the promotion was only for 18s and over was made clear at multiple points and only adult shoe sizes were made available. In addition, consumers could only take part in the competition by purchasing a bottle of Bulmer’s, an action that would be subject to the usual legal restrictions and in-store safeguards on alcohol sales.
They stated that they did not see anything in the ad that would promote immoderate, underage or irresponsible consumption of alcohol and had not received any complaints from members of the public or seen any other evidence that this was the case.
The ASA acknowledged that Converse was a popular and fashionable brand that would appeal to younger people. However, as a brand with a history of producing sports shoes dating back to the 1920s and wider visibility as casual footwear from the 1960s onwards, we considered that Converse had a broad appeal to people of a range of ages rather than being of particular appeal to under 18s.
We understood that the data referred to by the advertiser was based on responses from 2,828 individuals who had either expressed an intent to purchase or who had purchased (the precise nature of the survey question was not made clear) Converse shoes in the previous year. This was then broken down by age group. We noted that 92% of respondents demonstrating interest in Converse shoes were over 18.
We also understood that although the web page was accessible to anyone viewing the Bulmer’s website (provided that they confirmed they were over 18), it was likely to have been accessed predominantly by people who had purchased Bulmer’s cider after seeing the on-pack sales promotions in store. We noted that entering the competition was conditional on submitting a photograph of an open bottle of Bulmer’s, which should not have been purchased by under 18s. We considered that the competition web page was likely to be of appeal to and predominantly visited by over-18s.
Given the prize and the steps taken to limit access to the competition to over-18s, we concluded that the competition was not likely to be of particular appeal to people under 18.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (edition 12) rules 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. and 18.14 18.14 Marketing communications must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. They should not feature or portray real or fictitious characters who are likely to appeal particularly to people under 18 in a way that might encourage the young to drink. People shown drinking or playing a significant role (see rule 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. ) should not be shown behaving in an adolescent or juvenile manner. (Alcohol) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required