E-cigarette ad banned for ‘glamorising tobacco’

An ad for e-cigarette brand VIP that proudly claimed when launched that it was the first TV spot in almost 50 years to show someone smoking has been banned for glamorising tobacco.

The VIP ad launched just last month and featured a woman exhaling vapour. The brand claimed at the time to be the first to depict such an act following the relaxation of advertising rules that had previously prohibited e-cigarette brands showing their products in use in ads aired after 9pm.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority considered the woman’s appearance coupled with the slow and deliberate way in which she is seen vaping gave the ads a “sultry and glamorous tone” and therefore indirectly promoted the use of tobacco products.

It added: “The woman’s long dark hair and dark eye make-up gave her a glamorous look and the intimacy of the shot drew particular attention to her mouth and, specifically, to the vapour that circulated in her mouth before she inhaled, paused and then exhaled. We considered that the manner in which the vapour was exhaled and the heightened focus on this action created a strong association with traditional tobacco smoking.

“We also considered that, in combination with the softly spoken voice-over throughout, the woman’s appearance and the manner in which she was shown using the product gave the ads a sultry and glamorous tone.”

The owner of the VIP brand Must Have Ltd argued the ad clearly stated it was for an e-cigarette and not a tobacco product. Clearcast, which had cleared the ad for broadcast, says it was clear from the final pack shots of the product was an e-cigarette.

Separate complaints that the ad was overtly sexual and appealed to under-16s were rejected.

It is the third time VIP has been rapped by the ad watchdog in less than a year. Its debut TV campaign attracted more than 1,500 complaints it was “offensive” and “overtly sexual”.  Attempts to tone down the ad backfired after a sanitised version launched earlier this year but was deemed still too risqué to run before the watershed.

Separately, an ad for the KiK e-cigarette brand that featured a man saying: “I used to smoke normal cigarettes, but after I quit, I tried these. I actually prefer them” has been banned because the ASA ruled it could encourage non-smokers and former smokers to use the product.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

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

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big 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 are 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.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

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