Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated both of which were Upheld.
A brochure, for Fireball Whiskey, featured text which stated "TASTES LIKE HEAVEN BURNS LIKE HELL". The ad also included two Polaroid style photographs in the top right corner of the page. One of the photographs featured four people standing in a nightclub. One of the people held a sign that included the Fireball logo and read "THE HOTTER YOU ARE THE FASTER I COME". Text within the body of the ad beneath the heading "FIREBALL ACTIVITY" stated "Throughout the year, the Fireball team will be committed to delivering exciting activity across the country to support the spread of the Fireball phenomena [sic]. From being the Kerrang Awards' spirit of choice to sponsoring Loaded's National Tour, you will always find Fireball at the centre of the party". The ad also included four further Polaroid style photographs at the bottom of the page: three of the photographs showed people with drinks; and the fourth photograph showed Fireball merchandise.
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the ad breached the Code, because the person holding the sign which featured the text "THE HOTTER YOU ARE THE FASTER I COME" appeared under 25 years of age; and
2. the claim "THE HOTTER YOU ARE THE FASTER I COME" was offensive, because they considered it was a sexually explicit reference.
1. & 2. Hi Spirits said they would reprint the ad and address the issues raised.
The ASA noted the CAP Code required that people shown drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in a marketing communication must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25 years of age. Although the person holding the sign, which featured the text "THE HOTTER YOU ARE THE FASTER I COME", was not drinking, we considered that in appearing in the photograph with promotional material for Fireball Whiskey, they were playing a significant role in the ad. Because the person appeared to be under the age of 25, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.16 18.16 People shown drinking or playing a significant role must neither be nor seem to be under 25. People under 25 may be shown in marketing communications, for example, in the context of family celebrations, but must be obviously not drinking. (Alcohol).
We considered the claim "THE HOTTER YOU ARE THE FASTER I COME" would be understood by consumers as a sexually explicit reference. We considered the presentation of a person, who appeared under the age of 25, in conjunction the claim "THE HOTTER YOU ARE THE FASTER I COME" was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
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 ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Hi Spirits to ensure that those playing a significant role in its advertising must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25 years of age. We also told Hi Spirits to ensure that ads were not likely to cause serious and widespread offence.