A poster, seen at a bus stop, promoted Warninks Advocaat. Text stated, "Without WARNINKS ADVOCAAT it just wouldn't be Christmas".
Alcohol Concern, who believed the ad implied that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event, challenged whether it was irresponsible.
William Grant & Sons Ltd said they did not believe the ad had breached either the spirit or the letter of the Code. They said the the claim was not intended to suggest that drinking alcohol was a key component to the success of a social event, in this case the Christmas period. They said there was a significant difference between referring to a link that existed between a drink and a social event or occasion, and suggesting that drinking alcohol was a key component to the success of that event or occasion. They said the message they were trying to convey to consumers through the ad was that Warninks was one aspect of a traditional Christmas. They said they had used the line for years without complaint, and had submitted the ad to the CAP Copy Advice team, who considered that the ad was unlikely to breach the CAP Code.
Clear Channel said the claim was a light-hearted reference to the product's long-standing association with Christmas. They said the connection was emphasised by the fact that the bottle in the ad was 'wearing' a Christmas jumper. They believed consumers would recognise the reference to the product's association with Christmas, rather than interpreting it to mean that it was essential to the success of a social event. They said the product was not one which was associated with excessive drinking. They noted that there was no suggestion that the product should be consumed to excess and that the ad featured the Drinkaware website address.
The ASA understood that the CAP Code prohibited ads from implying that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event.
We considered that "Christmas" was likely to be interpreted, in the context of the ad, as a reference to the season, rather than to a specific occasion. We considered that consumers would interpret the claim "it just wouldn't be Christmas" as suggesting that the product was traditionally associated with the Christmas period, rather than the reason for its 'success'.
We noted that the ad did not make any references to excessive drinking, and there was no suggestion that a party or specific social occasion would be a success as a result of drinking alcohol, or that the product played a major part in socialising.
We considered that consumers were unlikely to interpret the ad as implying that Christmas was a social event, the success of which would depend on drinking advocaat. We also considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad had not breached the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising) and 18.3 18.3 Marketing communications must not imply that drinking alcohol is a key component of the success of a personal relationship or social event. The consumption of alcohol may be portrayed as sociable or thirst-quenching. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.