A competition run by Molson Coors featured a red beer fridge located at different places in Ireland including Clontarf Beach, Connemara, Blarney and Ballydehob. To enter the competition consumers had to send a tweet. The more tweets the advertisers received the more quickly the location of each fridge became apparent through the use of a map. A man was then featured scanning his passport, the method outlined by the advertisers to open the fridge. The details of the competition were given as follows:
“The Beer Fridge
FIND OUR FAMOUS BEER FRIDGE
AND MAKE HISTORY!
The world famous Beer Fridge that got the world talking with over 2 million views on You Tube is here!
This week we’re hiding the Beer Fridge in secret locations in Dublin, Galway and Cork. The first person to find it in each city, and open it with their passport, will become our first Molson CANADIAN ambassador to Ireland. Ambassador perks include a year of Canada’s most beloved beer, VIP access to Molson Canadian events in 2014 and an epic outdoor adventure with a friend in Canada, exploring the Athabasca Glacier, meeting grizzly bears and experiencing the uniquely outdoor Canadian way of life.
To find the fridge in each city tweet #MAKEITCANADIAN to reveal the location each day on our maps. To be kept up to date, simply add your details below to the city (or cities you want to search in) Happy Tweeting!
Please see Terms & Conditions.”
The complainants, Alcohol Action Ireland, said they had concerns in relation to the way the competition was run. They said that they were concerned with the use of a game as an approach in asking participants to tweet in order to try unlock the secret hiding places on the map of each fully stocked beer fridge to be in with a chance to win the prize. They considered the advertising to be socially irresponsible and to be encouraging excessive drinking.
ASAI queried the fact that the prize included a year’s supply of the product.
ASAI challenged the advertisers on the age of those featured in the advertising.
In relation to the complaint raised by Alcohol Action Ireland the advertisers said that Twitter was a technique used across a number of Irish advertising campaigns as a means of generating talkability and excitement online, in this case it had been used in conjunction with their map to generate interest in the competition. They said that no one person could reveal the location of the fridges, it took the participation of many to do so, through the use of Twitter. They also pointed out that those who did participate and located a fridge had not been allowed to consume the alcohol therein, it was simply a mechanism used to find a winner to the overall competition.
The advertisers said that from their perspective the inclusion of a year’s supply of beer was very much a tertiary prize behind the main thrust of the campaign which was to win Honourary Canadian Ambassadorship including a trip to Canada with a friend and VIP
tickets to events. At no point did they depict a year of beer or intend to give it precedence in communications. Furthermore they said that no consumption of any kind was depicted in their advertising material. The prize of the year’s supply of beer was to be delivered in monthly increments as smaller responsible quantities to ensure the winner was at no point presented with an excessive amount of alcohol in one go.
In relation to those depicted or involved in the campaign, the advertisers said that all their promotional staff featured were over 25. In terms of the winners they said, however, that the competition had been open to those over 18 as opposed to over 25s. Therefore the images used as a wrap up of the campaign had featured still images of the winners and had featured those under 25.
Complaint upheld in part.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee considered the use of social media to be common practice by many advertisers in connecting with consumers and did not, in this case, consider that the use of social media as a means to enter the competition breached the requirements of the Code. The Committee also noted that while the presence of a beer fridge had featured in the advertising that at no stage had anybody been depicted drinking irresponsibly nor had anyone been allowed to consume the alcohol therein. On this basis they did not consider that excessive consumption had been portrayed.
Complaint 1 was not upheld.
The Committee noted that while a year’s supply of beer had been offered as part of the prize, the terms made it clear that it would not be given out in one lot but would be made available and provided to the winner over a 12 month period. In the circumstances they did not uphold this element of the complaint.
Complaint 2 was not be upheld.
In relation to the use of the images of the winners of the competition, the Committee noted that the competition had been open to those over 18; however, it was in breach of the Code for the advertisers to feature images of those under 25 in a marketing campaign for alcohol, even if the purpose of those images used had been to bring closure to the campaign/competition. In the circumstances the Committee upheld this element of the complaint under Section 7.6(a) of the Code.
Complaint 3 was upheld.
The images used of those under 25 must be removed from the advertising and not used again.