ASA clears government campaign on children and alcohol

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed 27 complaints against a Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) campaign that encourages parents to speak to their children about alcohol.

The two TV ads, by Wieden & Kennedy, showed young children speaking about the possibility that they would be pressured into having sex and taking drugs in a few years' time.

The campaign used the strapline ‘Why let drink decide?', and featured a voiceover stating: "The sooner we talk to our kids about alcohol, the less chance that drink will start making decisions for them."

The first TV execution is less specific in its references, not mentioning sex or drugs, while the second, more explicit ad, which Clearcast cleared for broadcast after 9pm, shows children discussing such topics as an "older kid" offering them drugs.

Of the 27 complaints, several viewers claimed the sight of children discussing adult topics was likely to cause widespread offence, while others claimed the ads could cause distress to children.

The DCSF defended the campaign, arguing the pre-watershed ad did not use language likely to offend. Clearcast added that both spots were clearly "directed at parents rather than at children". As a result, the ASA opted to take no further action.