ASA Upholds Challenges to Ads for Alcohol, Chewing Gum
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two challenges to television ads, one for Aldi Stores Ltd. and one for The Wrigley Co.’s Extra chewing gum, ruling that neither can be aired again.
In the Aldi ad, “Kevin the Carrot,” an advertising mascot, was used to advertise alcohol beverages in a parody of “The Sixth Sense.” The ad began with Kevin saying, “I see dead parsnips,” and featured a voice-over explaining, “Kevin was feeling a little bit tense. He thought there were spirits. He had a sixth sense. As it turned out, his instincts were right. There were a few spirits that cold Christmas night.” Throughout the ad, various alcohol beverages appear. The ad was challenged on the grounds that the ad was likely to appeal to minors because the main character was a child’s toy. Aldi argued that the ad was part of its 2017 holiday parody series in which Kevin played parts in several films, most of which were adult in nature or appeal, and the use of the character was intended to be humorous. Clearcast, a non-governmental organization that pre-approves most British television advertising, also found that the overall theme of the campaign was likely to have general appeal to adults and that it was acceptable to feature Kevin in the ads, given appropriate scheduling restrictions that would not place it during or near children’s programming. However, ASA upheld the challenge, finding Kevin to be “childlike” and, given that the mascot’s stuffed toy was popular with young children, the ad was likely to appeal to those under 18. ASA told Aldi that its future ads for alcohol could not appeal to minors.
An ad for Wrigley’s Extra drew a challenge because it showed a young woman chewing gum while she prepared to take a penalty kick in a soccer game. The complainants argued that the ad “condoned or encouraged [the] dangerous practice” of chewing gum while playing sports. Noting “several reported incidents of people choking on gum whilst playing sports,” ASA concluded that showing the unsafe behavior could be dangerous for children who might emulate it. ASA told Wrigley it could not show people chewing gum while playing sports in any future advertising.