Diageo locks horns with ASA over ruling

The drinks giant Diageo has hit back at the Advertising Standards Authority after it ruled against a TV campaign for its Smirnoff Ice brand.

The ASA ruled that the campaign can never be shown again because it appealed to underage drinkers.

The ruling follows new rules on alcohol advertising on television, which came into force in January last year.

Diageo said it was shocked by the ruling because it had sought and received clearance from the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre.

The Diageo Great Britain marketing director, Philip Almond, said: "We are very surprised and disappointed by the ruling. We applied the highest levels of rigour and attention to detail during the development of the campaign, ensuring unequivocal adult appeal."

Almond warned that the ASA was in danger of confusing the drinks industry by failing to deliver "clear and consistent judgments".

Diageo has been told that it will not be allowed to use its Uri and Gorb characters to promote its Smirnoff Ice brand which appeal too to underage drinkers.

The drink company had already decided to drop the campaign, however, and has moved the business from Bartle Bogle Hegarty to JWT.