Absolut Facebook ad banned for featuring people who appeared to be under 25

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Pernod ricard Absolut vodka

The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned an Absolut vodka Facebook advert because the people in the video appeared to be under 25 years old – although Pernod Ricard points out that the interpretation of age is subjective.

The CAP Code – which sets out social responsibility rules for alcoholic drinks – states people shown to be drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in a marketing communication must neither be, nor appear to be, under 25 years old.

While it says it respects the ASA ruling, Pernod Ricard says all the individuals in the ad were, in fact, over 25: and that the age a person appears to be is very subjective factor.

Interpretation of age

The sponsored Facebook post by Absolut, published on August 9, featured a video of young people sitting in a boat. On-screen text stated: ‘Enjoy Absolut responsibly’.

Pernod Ricard provided the ASA with copies of identification to show that all the people in the advert were aged 25 or older. The ASA said, however, that viewers may have considered the people to be under 25.

The ASA ruled that the actions of dancing and using mobile phones to record the experience could be seen to reflect adolescent culture and thus enforce the impression that the people were under 25.

Pernod Ricard, however, defended this by saying such activities were widespread across generations and not prevalent with solely under 25 year olds.

The ASA said the advert must not appear again in its current form; and told Absolut to ensure its ads did not feature people who looked under 25 years of age in a significant role.

CAP Code: 18.16 (alcohol)

“People shown drinking or playing a significant role must neither be nor seem to be under 25. People under 25 may be shown in marketing communications, for example, in the context of family celebrations, but must be obviously not drinking.”

A spokesperson from Pernod Ricard said: "As a producer, we are committed to responsible advertising, and we work closely with organisations such as the Portman Group, Drinkaware and CAP in the development of both campaign materials and products, and to run regular training programmes for our employees. 

We respect the ASA’s ruling, and of course will not feature this advert again. However, we are disappointed this complaint was upheld, given the ASA acknowledged that all of the individuals featured were over the age of 25, and we provided identification documents accordingly.

"Whether an individual ‘appears’ to be under the age of 25 is a very subjective thing.”

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