A circular, for Ten Motives electronic cigarettes, featured an image of an ice cream, in which the chocolate flake was replaced with an electronic cigarette. The reverse showed various fruits, a vanilla flower, coffee beans and chocolate, along with images of coloured refills. Text on both sides included "FREE FLAVOURED REFILLS", "Choose a flavour for free" and "Which flavour do you favour?".
Two complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because they believed it was likely to appeal to children.
Ten Motives Ltd said the ad was intended to inform consumers that flavours were available for electronic cigarettes as an alternative to the taste of tobacco, which they believed was little known. The ad was designed to appeal to smokers and Ten Motives believed it had no relevance to children, who in any case would not be attracted to e-cigarettes. They said the mailing was sent to a focused demographic who had a high propensity to be smokers and was intended to make them aware of an alternative product, given the health risks associated with smoking. They believed the mailing was likely to be seen by adults, as the recipients of daily post, and that the medium was not one associated with children. They emphasised that the products were not sold or available to those under18 years of age and believed the imagery used in the ad was therefore not irresponsible.
The ASA noted the ad included a prominent image of an ice cream and that its emphasis, via the text "FREE FLAVOURED REFILLS", "Choose a flavour for free" and "Which flavour do you favour?" and images, including of other foods, was on flavours, which we considered children might associate with ice cream flavours in that context. We considered the presentation, in particular the images, was likely to be appealing to children and that it therefore should not have been used in an untargeted medium that could be seen by them, for example when the mailings were posted through letterboxes. We concluded that the mailing was irresponsible, because it was likely to appeal to children and was untargeted.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Ten Motives Ltd to ensure their future advertising was responsibly targeted.