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Advertiser: Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard (West Coast Cooler)
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
Codes:ASAI Code 6th Edition: 1.6(c), 7.6(a)
Advertising for a competition hosted on the West Coast Cooler website featured a picture of three girls wearing sunglasses taking a selfie. Viewers to the page were offered the opportunity to:
“Win a trip of a lifetime to Thailand with €10,000 for you and 3 mates
Further text read:
“MMM...Looks good, Doesn’t it?
“You have to be of legal drinking age wherever you live before going any further
Yes - I am old enough to drink
No - I'll be back when I'm legal”
The complainants, Alcohol Action Ireland, objected to the advertising as they considered the models featured in the marketing communication to be very young and not to look over 25 as is required in the Alcohol Section of the Code.
The advertisers said they hold high standards in ensuring that all of their marketing communications are directed only at the audiences for which they are intended and that the content is compliant with both the spirit and letter of the many codes by which they abide. They take their commitment to the responsible marketing of their brands very seriously.
The advertisers also said that the West Coast Cooler website entry visual was developed as part of their overall “Win a Trip to Thailand” campaign, the intention of which was to bring the spirit of female friendship to their female target audience aged 22-27. They did not consider that any aspect of their campaign was of appeal to those under the legal purchasing age for alcohol and they had never sought to attract an inappropriate audience to their brand or to have any under 25 year old females appear in their marketing communications. They said the imagery used had been sourced from Stock photography website, iStock and then a reasonable comparison drawn to previous females who had appeared in their communications.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisers had not verified the age of the models prior to posting their picture on their website and as such had breached the requirement of Section 7.6(a) of the Code.
The advertisement should not appear in its current form again.