Madonna fans too old to justify Smirnoff ad ban

Smirnoff has escaped a ban for a television ad promoting Madonna's latest tour after the ad watchdog rejected criticisms that it appealed to underage drinkers, on the basis that the 1980s popstar's fanbase is too old.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received one complaint that the ad, which promoted a competition to win VIP passes to see Madonna's MDNA tour from Diageo-owned brand Smirnoff, appealed to under 18s.

The ad, created by JWT Manchester, featured shots of individual dancers followed by scenes from one of Madonna's previous performances and images of her new album, as well as a limited edition Smirnoff bottle.

The ad stated: "Last November Smirnoff gave 11 dancers a chance to compete for a spot on Madonna’s next tour. Now you could be there too. Get the Smirnoff limited edition pack and you could win VIP access to Madonna's next tour."

Diageo argued that Madonna did not have a strong appeal to consumers between the ages of 12 and 17, because the 53-year-old singer of 'Holiday' and 'Lucky Star' rose to prominence in the 1980s.

The company said her fans were predominantly made up of music lovers from the 1980s and 1990s, and that a study conducted this year showed 4.7% of 12- to 17-year-olds in the UK were Madonna fans, making up 5.3% of her total audience.

Madonna first partnered with Smirnoff in September 2010 as part of its £6m campaign for the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project. It gave consumers the chance to audition as a dancer to appear in one of Madonna's music videos.

At the time, Madonna said: "What attracted me to the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project is the combination of participating in the celebration of nightlife around the world, and the opportunity to discover the world's best unknown dancers."

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