A WKD advertising campaign has yet again fallen foul of the Portman Group’s Code of Practice. A Halloween Cocktail promotion featured a ‘cocktail cauldron’ which the Portman Group ruled might lead to consumers drinking from the promotional cauldron and therefore not being able to measure their alcohol intake. 

When devising your advertising campaigns account must taken of the Advertising Standards Authority CAP Code and also the Portman Group Code of Practice.

Some of those which didn’t meet the required standards recently might amuse you:

Facebook promotion for WKD – Advert WKD 8 BALL weekend prediction: You will REFUSE TO DO KARAKOE – AT FIRST (showing a bottle of WKD)

Offence – The advert was found to imply that alcohol can inspire confidence

Advert: HAIRCUT x WKD x UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER x Have you got a WKD side?

Offence – The advert was found to suggest that alcohol is a key component of social success and appeals to under 18s.

Packaging – Bartex’s Red Army vodka in a glass bottle in the shape of a gun.

Offence – The product and packaging suggested a direct association with violent and dangerous behaviour.

Packaging – Brewdog Dead Pony Club beer set out certain phrases on its packaging.

Offence – The use of the phrase “Rip it up down empty streets” was found to encourage anti-social behaviour

The use of the phrases “Drink fast Live fast” and “We believe faster is better” were found to encourage rapid drinking.

A good laugh – or an irresponsible use of humour?

James Watt of Brewdog has been quoted as saying that The Portman Group “lives out its days deliberating on whether a joke on a bottle of beer is a responsible or irresponsible use of humour”.

The Portman Group has said that the Code is not there to “prevent humorous or innovative brand marketing, but to make sure that humour is used responsibly”.

Whatever your view of the humour in these recent promotions, what the industry must focus on is that failure to adhere to the ASA and Portman guidelines will put the whole industry in danger of further unwanted regulation.

Further information

ASA – UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) http://bcap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/Non-broadcast-HTML.aspx

Portman Group Code of Practice of the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks http://www.portmangroup.org.uk/codes/alcohol-marketing/code-of-practice/code-of-practice

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.