Virgin “rock star” ad banned

A Virgin Holidays poster campaign that features rock stars drinking champagne in a jacuzzi has been banned for glamorising alcohol.

The ad, part of the tour operator’s “Rockstar” campaign, showed a number of empty bottles and glasses lying around and people pouring champagne into the Jacuzzi.

One complainant objected to the way alcohol was portrayed in the ad but Virgin Holidays defended the imagery and said that the campaign focused on ridiculous desires being met.

It argued that a Jacuzzi filled with champagne was an example of “an extremely outlandish and decadent request”, exaggerated to show the level of service Virgin Holidays provided. The emphasis of the ad, created by Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, was on the request and not on drinking.

However, the Advertisign Standards Authority (ASA) said that rock stars “were widely accepted as glamorous and exciting figures” and that the ad depicted them in a scene that featured alcohol prominently.

The ASA noted that the imagery cleared implied that the characters had been drinking the champagne and the number of bottles in the scene and their position “indicated a casual attitude towards the handling and consumption of alcohol.” It ruled that the ad must not appear again and advised Virgin to take more care when it featured the use of alcohol in advertising.

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