Diageo Great Britain Ltd. reportedly plans to appeal the U.K.
Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA’s) decision to ban a Smirnoff ®
advertisement for allegedly violating the marketing rules for social
responsibility in alcohol marketing. Upholding its own complaint,
which claimed that the ad in question linked social success to alcohol
consumption, ASA found that “the ad’s presentation implied that before
the visitor asked for an alcoholic drink, the bar was cold and uninviting
and that once his drink had been ordered, the bar changed and became
livelier and more fun.”

Diageo disputed this interpretation, arguing that the TV spot showed
the bar “tilting” to filter out the elements that gave it an unwelcoming
atmosphere. According to the ruling’s summary of Diageo’s response,
“The tilt acted as a physical division within the ad and where the
pretentious items in the first scene were filtered out and the bar now had
a warm friendly atmosphere… [I]t was the removal of the pretentiousness
from the first scene that was pivotal to the change in the ad, rather than
the presence of alcohol.”

“We are deeply disappointed by the ASA’s conclusion,” a Smirnoff®
spokesperson was quoted as saying. “We believe the advert clearly
showed two scenarios that were separated by a physical change of the
bar symbolizing the ‘filtering’ of unnecessary pretentiousness, and not
by presence of alcohol… we will await the decision of the ASA’s appeal
process.” See Advertising Age, July 7, 2015.


Issue 571

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.