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Diageo rapped by advert watchdog

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Stuart Peskett
Two alcopop manufacturers have been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which ruled that their respective ad campaigns appealed to under-18s.

Diageo was taken to task for its Smirnoff Ice campaign which featured a character called Uri, a chilled-out Eastern European loyal to Smirnoff Ice', who lives in the Arctic, while Beverage Brands was similarly censured for a WKD campaign.

In the case of Diageo, the ASA found that more than 92,000 under-18-year-olds viewed the adverts, and that the band Quarashi that featured in the ad was deemed likely to appeal to under-18s in the UK'. As a result, the ASA concluded that the characters in the adverts were likely to become cult figures with strong appeal to under-18s' and the campaign was in breach of the CAP TV Advertising Standards Code and should not be shown again.

In response, Diageo said it fundamentally disagreed' with ASA's decision, and that it was seeking an independent review into the matter.

Diageo GB's marketing director Philip Almond said: We are exceptionally surprised and disappointed by the ruling. We applied the highest levels of rigour and attention to detail during the development of the campaign, ensuring unequivocal adult appeal.'

Beverage Brands incurred the wrath of the ASA because of two WKD adverts, one of which shows two men racing towards the fridge in slow motion' in an attempt to grab the last bottle of WKD. The ASA noted both adverts' juvenile' humour and ruled that they would have strong appeal' to under-18s.

A Beverage Brands spokesman said that the scripts and finished ads were viewed and cleared' by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre and also approved by them under new advertising guidelines introduced last year, adding

that neither ad was still on air.