A sponsored Facebook post by Absolut, a vodka brand, seen on 9 August 2017, featured a video of a group of young people sitting in a boat. On-screen text stated “ENJOY ABSOLUT RESPONSIBLY”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it featured people who appeared to be under the age of 25.
Absolut said that all of the individuals featured in the ad were 25 years or older. They provided copies of their identification as proof.
Absolut said they recognised that whether an individual “appeared” to be under 25 years was a subjective area. They confirmed that it was not their intention to portray them as such. They said that the use of mobile phones for recording was a widespread activity across all generations and not prevalent with solely under 25-year-olds.
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.
The ASA noted that during the ad, the camera focused on all of the individuals in the boat and, in the context of a short ad, featured them prominently. Based on that, we considered that they all played a significant role in the ad. We noted that the individuals were shown dancing and using their mobile phones to record the experience. We considered that action was likely to be seen to reflect adolescent culture. Although we acknowledged that the individuals were all 25 years or older, we nonetheless considered that some of the people would be considered to be under the age of 25 by some consumers.
Because a number of individuals who featured prominently in the ad appeared to be younger than 25 years of age, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Absolut to ensure that their ads did not feature people who looked under 25 years of age in a significant role.