NEWS: ASA delivers warning about drugs imagery

Advertisers that use drug-related imagery in their campaigns are being warned this week against being socially irresponsible by inadvertently encouraging teenagers to join the drugs culture.

Advertisers that use drug-related imagery in their campaigns are being

warned this week against being socially irresponsible by inadvertently

encouraging teenagers to join the drugs culture.



The Advertising Standards Authority issued its warning in the wake of

the death of Leah Betts after taking an ecstasy tablet and following a

row over the promotion of so-called Legal e-buzz bombs - a herbal

substance claimed to create the euphoric feelings normally associated

with illegal drugs.



The ASA has upheld complaints about an ad for the buzz bombs in the

youth magazine, M8, which claimed it was ‘an unbelievable alternative to

illegal ecstasy, giving a feeling normally associated with illegal

drugs’.



The ad said that the buzz bombs were ‘fucking wicked’ and asked: ‘Why

take risks? Stay legal and get the dog’s bollocks alternative.’



The ASA said the ad, produced by the West Midlands company, Elite

Creative Marketing, was unacceptable because it encouraged a climate of

acceptance of drugs despite claims that the product was an alternative

to them.



The ruling has spurred the ASA to warn creatives to be careful about the

use of drugs-related images, which could easily be interpreted as a

callous exploitation of teenagers.



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