Alcopop adverts banned from TV

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The Independent Online

Two alcopop advertisements have been banned after falling foul of rules designed to protect under-18s.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the Smirnoff Ice and WKD commercials were likely to have a strong appeal to minors, and it ordered the companies behind both vodka mix drinks not to broadcast the adverts again.

They are the first TV ads to be banned as a result of tightened rules for advertising alcohol which came into force on 1 January last year to address concerns over young people's drinking behaviour. They state that alcohol brands must not draw on youth culture in a way likely to "appeal strongly" to under-18s. The ASA said two WKD commercials which used the catchline "Have you got a WKD side?" breached the rules because they relied on "juvenile" humour likely to appeal to under-age drinkers. The Smirnoff Ice commercials featuring characters called Uri and Gorb also breached the rules because the "characters were likely to become cult figures with strong appeal to under-18s".

It banned the Smirnoff Ice-maker Diageo from using commercials featuring Uri or Gorb.

Big Communications, the agency behind the WKD campaign, said the humour used in both adverts was designed for adults.

Diageo said it disagreed with the ASA's decision about its Smirnoff Ice commercials and was seeking an independent review.

The company's marketing director, Philip Almond, said: "We are exceptionally 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.''

Earlier this year, two Young's Bitter posters which used the phrase "This is a Ram's World" became the first print advertisements to fall foul of the new industry rules.

After an investigation, the ASA said that the Young's ads linked alcohol with sexual success.