ASA clears Smirnoff ad of implying mood enhancement

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has cleared a TV ad for Smirnoff Vodka, despite complaints it suggested alcohol could enhance mood and musical performance.

The ad, created by JWT London, featured a group of musicians preparing for a gig in a disused underground tunnel and the cello player creating a makeshift bar to serve Smirnoff Vodka.

The voice-over stated: "It was extraordinary. I’ll never forget being there".

Two viewers complained the ad was irresponsible as it appeared to imply that the vodka was a key element to the gig’s success.

Diageo argued that the Smirnoff was an accompaniment to a great event, not a means to secure its success.

It explained the voice-over referred to the unique nature of the event venue and the subsequent musical experience. Clearcast concurred with this view.

It said there was only one shot of the Smirnoff mid-way through the ad and only one person was shown being served a drink, though no alcohol was consumed by anyone in the ad.

The ASA noted the behaviour of the people in the ad was consistently upbeat throughout, and only one drink was poured and no alcohol was shown to be consumed.

It considered viewers would understand the voice-over to be referring to the unique circumstances of the event.

It did not believe the ad implied the product could enhance the mood or musical performance and therefore concluded it was not irresponsible.

No further action was considered necessary.