NEWS: ASA agrees to allow Woodpecker spoof press ad campaign

Advertising watchdogs have given approval to a controversial new cider campaign which makes spoof claims.

Advertising watchdogs have given approval to a controversial new cider

campaign which makes spoof claims.

The national press campaign, for H. P. Bulmer’s new premium packaged

cider, Woodpecker Red, follows three months of negotiations between

Mellors Reay and Partners, the Woodpecker agency, and the Advertising

Standards Authority.

ASA officials rejected several creative executions for the drink before

an acceptable formula was found.

Bulmer said that, in the light of present controversies surrounding

alcohol promotion, it was unwilling to run ads without the ASA’s


The campaign, targeted at 18- to 24-year-olds, will break next Monday

and will run for a year in Mirror Group titles as a result of an

exclusive deal with the media owner.

Nick Webb, the Mellors Reay account director for Bulmers, said: ‘It’s

not shock for shock’s sake. Alcopops have turned the market into a war

zone, but we are determined to play by the rules.’

Launched earlier this year, Woodpecker Red is a high strength sweet

cider aimed predominantly at younger drinkers, male and female.

The ads, which were written by Jon Elsom and art directed by Ken Sara,

poke fun at the ‘overclaiming’ which has often drawn the ASA’s fire.

One ad suggests the product ‘improves your intelligence’ while another

claims that it ‘cures piles’.

Paul Richards, the Mellors Reay managing director, said: ‘This is a

brand with a personality which doesn’t take itself too seriously.’

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