“Offensive” Government alcohol ad cleared

A Government marketing campaign that shows children talking about getting drunk and having sex has avoided censure following complaints that it is offensive.

Department for Children, Schools and Families, Why Let Drink Decide?, television advertisement
Department for Children, Schools and Families, Why Let Drink Decide?, television advertisement

The Advertising Standards Authority received 27 complaints about two Department for Children, Schools and Families “Why Let Drink Decide?” television advertisements that depict children talking about future experiences including peer pressure to drink at parties, fight and have sex.

Complainants said the ads, created by Wieden & Kennedy, are likely to “cause serious or widespread offence” because they show kids discussing adult topics. It was also claimed that the ads were unsuitable to be shown when children were watching.

The ASA says the content of the ads is “unlikely to be seen as disproportionate to the seriousness of the message”. It adds the scheduling restriction is sufficient to ensure the ad that mentions drugs and sex is not seen by children.

The DCSF argued that the ads targeted parents rather than children. It adds that the spot shown before 9pm contained no reference to drugs or sex, while the ad that did carried a post-9pm timing restriction.

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