ASA investigates complaints that Virgin Mobile ad condones excessive drinking

A Virgin Mobile regional press campaign showing unconscious men who have had practical jokes played on them has prompted complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it is irresponsible and condones excessive drinking.

The campaign, which shows men in drunken and dishevelled states, uses the tagline “Winding your mates up just got cheaper!” and promises &£30 off camera phones when consumers spend &£30 on airtime. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R created the ad.

The ASA has partly upheld complaints against a national press and e-mail advertisement for travel website Expedia. The ad attracted complaints about claims that users could buy flights and accommodation in the Far East for &£393 and flights to Miami from &£169. It also received a complaint about the ad being misleading with regards to the availability of the flights. The ASA has upheld the complaint because Expedia could not prove the availability of the flights or the holidays at the prices advertised.

The ASA has censured a press ad for mobile ringtones, offering a number of song titles including “Pimp” and “F**k it” in teen magazine Sugar. The ASA has ruled that the ad is unsuitable for a title targeting 11-year-old girls.

The ASA has not upheld a complaint about the showing of an ad that parodies sexual foreplay before a 12A-rated film. The Greene King cinema ad shows a woman lying in bed, blindfolded with her wrists wrapped in scarves, as a dog licks her feet while her husband is at the pub. The ASA says children aged 12 and over would probably already be aware that adults play sexual games, so the ad would be unlikely to cause harm.

Knowledge Bank

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