ASA condemns Hooch surfer ad for appealing to children

Bass’ reputation as a responsible brewer was under fire this week after its most recent alcopop ads, featuring a man with a surfer superimposed on his hair, was condemned for appealing to children.

The brewer has repeatedly stressed that it does not deliberately target children in the packaging or advertising of its alcopop brand Hooper’s Hooch, the market leader.

But in a damning adjudication in this month’s Advertising Standards Authority report, Bass was ordered not to use the campaign again and told to seek copy advice for future ads.

The ruling could mean the end of Hooch man, the character created by Bass ad agency EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper, who was supposed to convey “sophisticated” and “ironic” adult humour.

The poster campaign through EURO RSCG ran in June and advertised the special edition alcopop Hooper’s Hoola. It featured a beach scene and a man wearing a floral top and a wig with a surfer superimposed on the quiff in his hair. The ASA ruled the ad irresponsibly linked drinking with water sports (breaking the ad industry’s codes), and that the beach, surfing imagery and “unsophisticated humour” of the Hooch character would appeal to children.

Bass was forced to axe its original lemon cartoon character for Hooch, used in press and poster advertising. It replaced it with a more serious fruit design. This has also been replaced with an authentic fruit image.

A Bass spokeswoman says the company is “dismayed” at the ASA’s decision and claims the poster was “clearly directed at 18- to 35-year-olds”.

“Bass Brewers believes that the ASA examined the ad at a time when there was a mistaken belief that so-called alcopops were actually encouraging underage drinking,” she adds.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here