Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.
A web page on the website www.magalufevents.com, seen on 1 December 2018, promoting a ‘Sunset Booze Cruise’, included the text “Sunset Booze Cruise 2018…Magaluf’s biggest Award winning Booze Cruise is back…You’ll see the mayhem we cause on the Mediterranean is unrivalled anywhere on the planet!...with an UNLIMITED FREE bar for THREE hours you’re onboard [sic]. We also include FREE shots of Sambuca, Apple Sourz, Skittle Vodka! We promise you will walk on the boat but we’ll have you crawling off!... Event Duration 3 hours BAR Unlimited FREE BAR”. A table on the website indicated that a standard priced ticket gave access to the unlimited free bar and VIP tickets included an additional bottle of champagne per person. At the bottom of the web page a collage of 18 photos were displayed as part of the image gallery for previous events. Images featured two females kissing, one female drinking from a spirits bottle and a man rubbing his face into a woman’s chest.
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the ad irresponsibly promoted excessive consumption of alcohol;
2. those featured in the ad appeared to be under the age of 25; and
3. the ad linked alcohol with sexual success at the event.
1. 2. & 3. Magaluf Events stated that they had been diligent in checking identification and that they had consent forms from those involved with any promotional work, including those featured on the web page, to state that they were over 25 years of age. They explained that they would not be looking to change the images of those featured on their website because those featured were over the age of 25. They said that appearing to be over 25 was subjective and they worked on a factual basis.
They acknowledged that there were issues with elements of their content and images regarding the promotion of sexual activity and alcohol consumption and stated that they were willing to make amendments to their website.
The CAP Code required marketing communications to be socially responsible and contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise, including encouraging excessive drinking.
Tickets to the event included an “unlimited free bar” for a three-hour duration, including unlimited shots of spirits such as vodka and Sambuca. In addition to this, a VIP ticket entitled the purchaser to a bottle of champagne per person as well as access to a “free bar” at a pre party. We considered that the large amount of alcohol offered within the time frame specified, combined with the phrase “we’ll have you crawling off!” and the gallery image of a woman shown to be drinking from a spirit bottle, promoted excessive consumption of alcohol, which was further emphasised by the event title “Sunset Booze Cruise” and was therefore in breach of the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) 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. (Alcohol).
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. While Magaluf Events stated that they had checked the identification of those featured on the web page and confirmed that they were over 25, they had not provided any evidence to demonstrate this was the case. We considered that several people appeared to be under 25, including some who were shown to be drinking alcohol. We further considered that although some individuals were not shown drinking alcohol, because they were selected from the image gallery to appear on the event page they still played a significant role in the ad. We therefore concluded the ad was in breach of 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 that images of a sexual nature were featured on the event page, such as images showing two people kissing and a man rubbing his face into a woman’s chest. We also considered the images of attendees holding up signs with the text “I’m behaving badly on Sunset Booze Cruise”, “Single as F***” and “I left my boyfriend back in England” were sexually suggestive and implied that those attending the event would be sexually successful. We considered that the ad’s emphasis on the large quantities of alcohol offered and the inclusion of the images selected from the image gallery to promote the Booze Cruise event linked alcohol with sexual activity and therefore breached the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 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 ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Magaluf Events to ensure that their future advertising was socially responsible, did not encourage excessive drinking or feature those who appeared to be under 25 years of age drinking alcohol or playing a significant role, and did not link alcohol to sexual activity.