Duffy Diet Coke ad dodges ban

LONDON - A TV ad for Diet Coke starring the Welsh songstress Duffy riding a bicycle without a helmet has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad, by Mother London, which showed Duffy taking a break from performing at Brixton Academy and cycling around the neighbouring streets singing, received 22 complaints.

Viewers were concerned that health and safety had been completely ignored as the singer was not wearing a helmet or reflective clothing and did not have lights on her bicycle.

Complainants felt the ad was irresponsible because children might emulate the star’s behaviour.

Coca-Cola said the ad depicted a metaphor for Duffy’s fantasy of escaping the pressures of stardom and performing.

The advertiser said it had consulted the Highway Code on riding a bicycle on public roads, and the sequins on Duffy’s outfit counted as reflective clothing. Furthermore, the front and rear lights of the bike were visible in each shot.

Coca-Cola also said that the target audience for the ad was women aged 20 and over, and that Clearcast had given the ad an ex-kids restriction.

The ASA agreed that the ad would be taken as fantastical by most viewers and noted the ex-kids restriction. The watchdog concluded the ad was not irresponsible and no further action was necessary.