Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Three Instagram posts from the account of alcohol brand Litty Liquor, featuring the rapper ArrDee:
a. The first Instagram post, published on 9 December 2022, featured a photo of ArrDee in a distillery, surrounded by bottles of Litty Liquor’s spiced rum product, 4Realli, holding a bottle up to the camera and gesturing with his other hand.
b. The second Instagram post, published on 14 December 2022, featured a photo of ArrDee in front of a tower of 4Realli bottles, making a hand gesture to the camera. Accompanying text stated “Be the first to try the First Edition of Litty Liquor … @arrdeegram’s own personal Spiced Rum Recipe …”.
c. The third Instagram post, published on 15 December 2022, featured a video of ArrDee in an empty nightclub, trying and rejecting two unidentified brands of rum. ArrDee was then shown in a distillery, standing at a table with a selection of scientific flasks and measuring jugs, working on a formula. ArrDee was shown mixing liquids, making notes, and testing the results until he was happy. The video then cut to a display of 4Realli bottles, before cutting back to the nightclub, where the barman poured ArrDee a 4Realli, mixed with cola. As ArrDee tried the drink, a jump cut shifted the scene from the quiet, empty club, to seeing it filled with people and loud music, as ArrDee danced away from the camera to join friends on the dancefloor. The final scene showed a box of Litty Liquor’s product, along with the on-screen text “#GETLIT”.
The complainant challenged whether:
1. ads (a), (b) and (c) breached the Code because they featured someone who was, or seemed to be, under 25; and
2. ad (c) breached the Code, because the phrase "#GETLIT" encouraged excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
1. Litty Liquor Ltd, also responding on behalf of ArrDee, said that they had been unaware of the requirements of the CAP Code. They confirmed that ArrDee was under 25 years of age at the time the ads were seen, and apologised for his presence in the ads, which they accepted was in breach of the requirements of the Code.
2. Litty Liquor Ltd and ArrDee said that they understood how the phrase "#GETLIT" could have been perceived as promoting excessive and irresponsible alcohol consumption. They said that they had not intended to use the phrase in a way which encouraged excessive drinking, and that they had intended to promote their products in a responsible and appropriate manner.
They said that they had removed the ads, and would be reviewing their advertising policies and procedures in order to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
The CAP Code stated that people shown drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in a marketing communication for alcohol must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25 years of age.
The ASA understood that ArrDee was 20 years old at the time the ads appeared. We considered that because he was the main focus of the images in ads (a) and (b), and was seen creating the product in the video in ad (c), he played a significant role in all three ads. We also noted that he was shown consuming alcohol in ad (c). We therefore concluded the ads were in breach of the Code.
On that point, ads (a), (b) and (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.16 (Alcohol).
Ad (c) featured shots of ArrDee trying a series of different, apparently unsatisfactory alcoholic drinks in a nightclub environment, before creating his own blend of spiced rum in a distillery, then drinking it in the nightclub, and joining a larger crowd in what had become a party atmosphere, before the phrase “#GETLIT” was shown on screen.
We understood that the word “lit” had a long history of being used as a slang term for being drunk, and that it had also become popular within the rap music scene to indicate being intoxicated. We noted that in recent years the term “lit” had also been used in rap music to mean that something was exciting, or of an excellent quality. However, because the ad was focused on the creation and consumption of an alcoholic drink, and was set in a nightclub and a distillery, we considered that consumers would likely associate the phrase “#GETLIT”, in the context of ad (c), to relate to the consumption of alcohol, and becoming intoxicated. We therefore considered that the ad was likely to encourage excessive consumption of alcohol.
While we welcomed Litty Liquor’s removal of the ad, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible because it encouraged excessive drinking, and breached the Code.
On that point, ad (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.1 (Alcohol).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Litty Liquor Ltd to ensure that their future marketing materials did not feature someone who was, or seemed to be, under 25 years of age. We also told them to ensure that their future marketing materials did not encourage excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.