The ASA has taken the "unusual step" of immediately removing an ad by a company called Koosday for a club night featuring a man slumped against a car with the text "I DON’T WANT TO DIE SOBER". The ad appeared on car bonnets and prompted a complaint that it irresponsibly linked alcohol with driving.
The ASA was concerned (perhaps unsurprisingly) that "the ad was seriously prejudicial to the general public on the grounds that it was irresponsible and harmful in linking alcohol consumption with driving – particularly because it had been placed on cars belonging to university students and was likely to be seen by other students when parked on campus – and encouraged excessive drinking". In exceptional circumstances, the ASA is able to take interim action and have ads immediately amended or withdrawn pending investigation (as it did earlier this year with the Paddy Power Pistorius advert that we blogged about back in March 2014).
The ASA discussed the importance of responsible alcohol advertising in one of its recent "hot topics" and reiterated the robust approach it takes in ensuring the rules are complied with. It reminded advertisers that the UK advertising rules for alcohol are extremely strict and are based on evidence that points to a link between alcohol advertising and people’s awareness and attitudes to drinking. In particular, alcohol ads must not be directed at people under 18 or contain anything that is likely to appeal to them or link alcohol to irresponsible behaviour, social success or sexual attractiveness. The TV and radio advertising rules also impose tough controls on the placement and content of alcohol advertising.
The ASA announced that it has launched a fast track investigation in connection with the ad and will publish its findings shortly.