ASA report raps beer and toothpaste ads

Cult character Paul Calf – the creation of TV comic Steve Coogan – has been banned from appearing in a beer ad because he is too “aggressive”.

This month’s Advertising Standards Authority report upholds complaints from members of the public about two poster ads for Marstons Brewery low alcohol brand Low C.

One ad was headlined “Low C is good. Calories are…”, with the last word obscured with sticky labels but identifiable as “shite”. The second was headlined “It makes other beer taste like cat’s…” and the hidden word was identifiable as “piss”.

The ASA decided the ads, through Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson, were not offensive, but upheld complaints that Calf’s pose was “aggressive, threatening and unsuitable for an advertisement for an alcoholic drink.”

Other complaints include several from rival toothpaste manufacturers Colgate Palmolive and SmithKline Beecham, which prompted two campaigns to be withdrawn or changed.

SmithKline Beecham objected to a poster for Colgate Total Fresh Stripe headlined “Outstrips other stripes”, showing one toothbrush with a small amount of striped toothpaste on it and another with a very long strip of white Colgate. It said the striped toothpaste would be seen as its Aquafresh brand in the Young & Rubicam ad, and the ASA agreed.

A magazine ad through Grey Advertising for SmithKline Beecham’s Aquafresh Flex Direct toothbrush sparked complaints from Colgate Palmolive, which successfully challenged claims that it would give “the best clean you’ve ever had”.


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