[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Vodka Cruiser post pulled amid “marketing to children” claims

Both the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) and the ABAC Adjudication Panel (ABAC) have ruled that certain Instagram posts for Asahi’s Vodka Cruiser were targeted to children.

What happened?

Vodka Cruiser posted several images on its Instagram page using props including polka dot cups and balloons, and depicting an image of a young girl with glitter under her eyes captioned “How to cover your dark eye circles the morning after”.

The Cancer Council of Victoria submitted complaints to both the ASB and ABAC, alleging the model was a minor and “presented in a highly childish fashion”, the props had “strong visual appeal to children” and that the page didn’t include appropriate age restriction wording.

Although denying the posts targeted children and disputing the model was a minor, Asahi removed the posts and updated the age restriction wording on its page. 

The determinations

In separate determinations, both the ASB and ABAC upheld the complaints.

The ASB found that while it was difficult to determine the model’s age, her youth combined with the use of the glitter under her eyes suggested she was no more than 14.

Further, the use of the words “covering dark circles” in connection with an alcoholic beverage could be interpreted as referring to excessive drinking the previous night.

Accordingly, the ASB found the posts were contrary to prevailing community standards in breach of the AANA Code of Ethics.

ABAC found the posts were presented in a way which would have strong appeal to children, in breach of the ABAC Code.

The takeout

Care must be taken when marketing alcoholic beverages to ensure compliance with industry codes and community standards. This case illustrates why it’s important to have your campaigns legally approved prior to publication.

David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, which offers fixed fee solutions across a range of areas (including marketing law and contract review). Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.

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