Watchdog bans drink brand’s ‘irresponsible’ television ads

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a TV ad for Southern Comfort because it appears to glamourise drinking.

The ad, created by Arnold Worldwide, features a group of friends at a bar posing for a photo with glasses of Southern Comfort. The tagline on screen states: “For picture perfect nights, please drink responsibly”.

Viewers complained that the tagline implied drinking Southern Comfort was the way to create a perfect night and encouraged irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

Distiller Brown-Forman, which owns the liqueur brand, says the ad was designed to be “consistent with the behaviour typically displayed by 25- to 29-year-olds when they have a social gathering at the bar”, and was not meant to encourage drinking.

But the ASA judged that the ad did suggest the success of the social occasion depended on the presence and consumption of alcohol, and called for the ad to be banned from broadcast in its current form.

The ASA has banned an easyJet regional press ad that claimed it was “up to 65% cheaper than BA”. The ad featured a list of seven destinations and quoted the BA price, the easyJet price and potential savings for selected flights.

But BA claimed the ad was misleading, as it listed incorrect prices for some of its flights and none of the quoted savings amounted to 65%. The ASA found the ad breached its code of conduct.

In another ruling, Vodafone had national press ads for its mobile broadband banned on similar grounds to easyJet. Claims that itwas “the fastest, most reliable broadband in the galaxy” were found to be immeasurable and misleading by the ASA, following complaints from rivals Hutchison 3Gand T-Mobile.


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