It did, however, remind me to tell you about the temperance lobby's obsessive complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency. In 2011, Alcohol Concern set up a front group called the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council which has been bombarding the Advertising Standards Agency with frivolous complaints ever since. The project has not been terribly successful, as their presentation at last year's Al Con conference shows. These are the three case studies they highlighted...
In the ad Bacardi facilitates the young men to meet the young women and ultimately sexual success, which is not explicitly portrayed but is obviously alluded to throughout, in breach of the spirit if not the wording of the code.
‘Whilst we appreciate your concern... We do not consider the ad is likely to suggest sexual success as a result of alcohol consumption.... The ad showed a group of adult friends on a night out in a bar and covered later activities over an extended time.’
The ad, clearly targeted at female consumers communicates the message that drinking enhances confidence. YAAC particularly objected to the ‘I am what I am’ scene which linked alcohol with improved self- confidence.
‘Whilst we appreciate your concern... No one in the ad was seen drinking... The message consumers were likely to take was that people like those in the ad, who were a little extrovert, were likely to enjoy the product’
The message ‘Don’t wait for an extraordinary night, make one” - followed by lingering shots of Smirnoff - strongly implied alcohol was essential for a special night out.
It seems that this band of fresh-faced Mary Whitehouses have had little success getting alcohol adverts off the telly, so it's all been a waste of Comic Relief's money (for it is they who fund it). But the story has a punchline. At the same Alcohol Concern conference, the temperance quango Balance NorthEast gave a presentation about its 'See What Sam Sees' campaign which campaigns for a ban on alcohol advertising.
Balance NorthEast is one of the country's most flagrant examples of a government sock puppet. Entirely taxpayer-funded, it engages in blatantly lobbying, campaigning and petition-gathering whilst pretending to be an independent organisation. Following the anti-tobacco blueprint to the letter, it takes the "population level de-normalisation approach" and aims to "follow success and learn lessons from the regional tobacco control office, Fresh."
See What Sam Sees was an expensive attempt at government-lobbying-government which included a television ad. But guess what...
An advert highlighting the dangers alcohol advertising poses to youngsters in the North East has been banned from being aired on television.
Oh woe, why so?
The regulator says...
TV scripts viewed as "campaigning"
Rejected under Rule 7 BCAP code
The Communications At 2003 prohibits political advertising.
(7.22 b) bringing about changes of the law in the whole or a part of the United Kingdom or elsewhere, or otherwise influencing the legislative process in any country or territory
(7.22c) influencing the policies or decisions of local, regional or national governments, whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere
What a pity.