NEWS: ASA upbraids Holsten and Molson

Laddish lager advertising ran into trouble in the latest report from the Advertising Standards Authority, with both Holsten and Molson criticised for recent campaigns.

Laddish lager advertising ran into trouble in the latest report from the

Advertising Standards Authority, with both Holsten and Molson criticised

for recent campaigns.

The censure comes despite the fact that ASA research found the majority

of alcohol ads now meet the high standards laid down by the drinks

industry. According to the ASA, more than 98 per cent of drinks ads are

now found to be acceptable.

A GGT poster and press campaign for Holsten, which featured the line,

‘Poncey-arsed advertising? Get real’, attracted almost 100 complaints

from around the country. The complainants felt the language used was


Holsten defended the ads, saying it wanted to use the vernacular of the

man in the street in a humorous and unpretentious way.

However, it regretted the offence and removed the word ‘arsed’ from the

posters. Nevertheless, the ASA upheld the complaints on the grounds that

the ads were likely to cause widespread offence and called for an

amendment to the press execution as well.

Scottish Courage also attracted complaints for its Molson poster, which

featured an Eric Cantona lookalike in a recreation of the footballer’s

infamous karate kick at a spectator.

Cantona’s solicitors complained that the ad, created by Foote Cone

Belding, distressed and exploited their client. Other complainants felt

the ad was likely to appeal to the young and would be seen to condone

anti-social behaviour.

Although the ASA accepted that the poster did not feature Cantona and

that readers would not infer the footballer’s endorsement of the

product, it felt the ad could compromise the star. The complaints were


Procter and Gamble and Orange attracted complaints for comparative

campaigns. A complaint from J. Sainsbury about a P&G leaflet for Ariel

Future claimed the product unfavourably compared Ariel with Sainsbury’s

Novon 2000 brand.

The ASA sought expert advice and decided Ariel was more effective at

stain removal over a greater number of wash cycles, and threw out the


Sex also featured heavily in the range of complaints. An ad for Red

Bull, featuring a can of the drink positioned at a 45-degree angle to a

man’s crotch, and another which featured a phallic representation of a

Red Bull can, both attracted objections.

Criticisms about the sexual nature of the advertisements were not

upheld, but complaints about some of the product claims were.


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