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Smirnoff pledges to fight ban after regulator rules ad breached code

Published:  08 July, 2015

Diageo has said it will fight to overturn a ban on an ad for Smirnoff vodka imposed by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The regulator said the Filter ad suggested that the success of a social occasion depicted in the ad "depended on the presence of alcohol", a breach of advertising guidelines.

The commercial sees the atmosphere in a bar become warmer after the bar tilts and a bartender pours vodka and a mixer into a glass.

Diageo told the ASA's complaints panel that "it was the removal of pretentiousness from the first scene that was pivotal to the change in the ad, rather than the presence of alcohol".

But the regulator added: "We considered the contrast between the two implied it was the presence of alcohol that was the pivotal point in the bar's transformation".

The ASA ruled that the ad breached advertising rules and barred it from being screened again in its existing form.

Smirnoff marketing director Julie Bramham said: "We are deeply disappointed by the ASA's conclusion and will be appealing the decision.

"We believe the advert clearly showed two scenarios that were separated by a physical change of the bar symbolising the filtering of unnecessary pretentiousness, and not by the presence of alcohol.

"Pre-approval was granted by Clearcast and we will await the decision of the ASA's appeal process."

The ad was part of a £15 million campaign for the vodka launched by Diageo last year.