Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Two Instagram posts promoting Southern Comfort, one by Francesca Perks, the other by Jack Remmington:
a. A post on Francesca Perks’ Instagram page, posted 29 October 2019, included the caption “AD. I can put my hand up and say I’m not a cocktail aficionado by any means, but boy do I love a slushie, so when @southerncomfortuk asked me to put a spin on a shark bite, I knew an adult slushie was the only route to take this down, so that my friends is what I present you with! Head over to my stories to how I conjured up this frozen beauty!”.
The post included two images, one showed Francesca Perks holding a cocktail, the other showed the cocktail on a table with a bottle of Southern Comfort in the background.
b. A post on Jack Remmington’s Instagram page, posted 29 October 2019, included the caption “#AD So my bezzie mate‘s fave drink in the world is Southern Comfort and we got creative with this Halloween inspired treat! Obvy cos it’s me I wanted to jazz it up and be extra, so have a gander over on my stories to see what we came up with. Let me know what you’d have added to the cocktail to make it extra special! Thank you @southerncomfortuk and @twisted for letting our imagination run wild (and for the beaut bev!)”.
The post included two images, one showed Jack Remmington and a woman drinking a cocktail, the other showed the cocktail next to a bottle of Southern Comfort.
1. The complainant challenged whether ad (a) breached the Code because it featured someone who seemed to be, or who was, under 25 years of age.
2. The ASA challenged whether ad (b) breached the Code because it featured someone who seemed to be, or who was, under 25 years of age.
Sazerac UK Ltd t/a Southern Comfort said that the ads were designed to promote a ‘Shark Bite’ drink served over the week of Halloween. They said that they engaged Francesca Perks and Jack Remmington to develop their version of the Shark Bite.
Southern Comfort said that Ms Perks was 22 years old when the ad was posted. Upon receipt of the complaint, Southern Comfort said they requested Ms Perks remove the post from her feed to avoid further views. They said in Mr Remmington’s post, both he and his friend featured in the ad were 25 years old.
Ms Perks said that the post was removed when she was notified of the complaint by the ASA and confirmed that in future she would not engage in alcohol related marketing which would breach the Advertising Code. Mr Remmington confirmed that he was 25 years old.
1. & 2. Upheld 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. Both ads showed images which contained a bottle of Southern Comfort and a cocktail that included that product.
Ms Perks in ad (a) and Mr Remmington and his friend in ad (b) were the focus of the images and the ASA therefore considered they each played a significant role in their respective ads. Additionally, together with the text included in the posts, we considered it was clear from the ads’ contexts that they were drinking alcoholic drinks.
While we welcomed Southern Comfort’s and Ms Perks’ actions to remove the ad once we had contacted them, we were concerned that the advertiser had chosen to work with someone who was under 25 years old. Given we understood that Ms Perks was 22 years old when ad (a) was posted, we concluded ad (a) breached the CAP Code on that basis.
We understood that Mr Remmington and his friend were both 25 years old when ad (b) was posted, and we therefore assessed whether they seemed to be under 25 in the ad. We considered both appeared young in the image and that they seemed to be under 25 years old. We therefore concluded ad (b) breached the Code on that basis. The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.16 (Alcohol).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Sazerac UK Ltd t/a Southern Comfort to ensure that those drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in their future advertising must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25 years of age.