ASA defends Diet Coke’s ‘fantasy’ take on Duffy ad

Coca-Cola Great Britain has escaped an advertising ban by the Advertising Standards Authority for its Diet Coke campaign featuring singer Duffy.

Duffy: Dreamy vocal suggests that the ad is not meant to be taken as reality

The advertising watchdog received more than 20 complaints about the TV ad, which features Duffy coming off stage, sipping a Diet Coke, and then climbing onto a bicycle before cycling along night time streets and into a supermarket.

Viewers complained that the ad could be seen to condone dangerous cycling and “behaviour prejudicial to health and safety” because Duffy did not wear protective clothing or have lights on her bicycle. Four viewers also attacked the ad for irresponsibility because it risked being copied by children.

Coca-Cola says the ad was not meant to reflect reality and that it was Duffy’s fantasy representing her escape from the pressures of stardom.
The drinks company says that it “went through a vigorous process” early in production to ensure the criteria of the Highway Code for bicycle riding was met.

The ASA agreed with Coca-Cola that the sudden transition in the advertisement from a loud concert environment to the dreamy vocal track indicated that the cycling sequence was a fantasy and this was reinforced by Duffy cycling along empty roads and a round a supermarket while performing her song.

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