The Buck Inn has recently fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Agency which upheld complaints about a poster it used to advertise its German themed night. The poster was in Nazi colours, it showed a picture of a Nazi soldier performing a salute with a swastika on the other arm. A sketched image of the head of the chef had been superimposed on to the soldier’s face. The ASA received 3 complaints that the ad was offensive.
The pub claimed that the phrased used as a headline, “don’t mention ze war“, was a well known line from the sitcom Faulty Towers. The phrase had been used with the pictures to create a light hearted and humorous poster. The pub said that it was not promoting the Nazi party or intending to mock WW2 in any way.
The ASA found that the use of a humorous poster using images of a Nazi soldier did trivialise the events of WW2. In addition, the poster linked German culture intrinsically to the Nazi party and WW2. It said the poster was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and must not be used again.
Role of the ASA
The remit of ASA is not to condemn legitimate advertising but it does have a role in ensuring all broadcast and non-broadcast adverts, sales promotions and direct marketing follow their principles of being legal, decent, honest and truthful. The poster was found to be in breach of Rule 4.1 of the CAP Code which states that marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience and product and prevailing standards.
Guidelines on advertising of alcoholic drinks
When designing posters and adverts operators should ensure that they keep on the right side of advertising guidelines. There are specific guidelines in the Code on the advertising of alcoholic drinks. See linked article HERE.
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.