Two poster ads appearing on buses, for Vape Nation vaping equipment, seen in October 2019:
a. The first ad, appearing on the back of a bus in South Shields, included the text “88vape Premium Shortfills Shop Online” and a picture of vaping refill canisters.
b. The second ad, appearing on the side of a bus in Chesterfield, included the text “88vape.com PREMIUM E-LIQUIDS 50+ FLAVOURS ONLINE”.
IssueTwo complainants, who noted the ads appeared on buses used by school children, challenged whether ads (a) and (b) had been appropriately placed.
ResponseVape Nation Ltd said that the ads were placed on buses that were being used on commercial routes. The bus companies for both ads (a) and (b) had confirmed to their media agency that the ads were only displayed on buses intended for commercial use by the general public and not on designated school buses. Global Outdoor Media Ltd, who owned the media for Go North East buses which operated the bus route on which ad (a) was seen, said the ad was part of a non-targeted bus campaign and was displayed on buses run on general public service routes. They said that Go North East had confirmed that the bus in ad (a) was not a designated school bus, but was assigned to general public service routes open to all passengers. They confirmed that at certain times of the day that route included bus stops at school locations. The bus company TM Travel, which operated the bus route on which ad (b) was seen, responded that the ad was not a designated school service and was registered as a normal stopping service accessible by all members of the public and provided information about the bus timetable. Adverta, who owned the media for TM Travel buses which operated the bus route on which ad (b) was seen did not provide a comment.
AssessmentNot upheld The CAP Code required that ads for electronic cigarettes must not be directed at people under 18 years of age through the selection of media or the context in which they appeared and that no medium should be used to advertise e-cigarettes if more than 25% of its audience was under the age of 18. Ads (a) and (b) appeared on the back and side of buses that operated on commercial routes which served schools along those routes. We considered that because the ads appeared on buses, and therefore appeared in an untargeted outdoor medium, they did not appear in media that was specifically directed at under-18s. While we acknowledged that buses on those routes would be likely to carry a higher number of under-18s at certain points of the day during term times, they also served the wider community along those routes throughout the day. We therefore considered that the overall audience of the ads was unlikely to be significantly skewed towards under-18s. We therefore considered the ads did not directly target people under the age of 18 through the context in which they appeared. We concluded the placement of both ads (a) and (b) did not breach the Code. We investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 22.11 22.11 Marketing communications must not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. No medium should be used to advertise e-cigarettes if more than 25% of its audience is under 18 years of age. (Electronic Cigarettes), but did not find them in breach.
No further action necessary.