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
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.