The body upheld three of four complaints made by the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council about the ads, which appeared on the brand’s Facebook page.
Owner SHS Drinks said it had, “believed in all good faith that the advertisements in question were fully compliant with all codes, and Facebook has confirmed its guidelines have not been breached. However, in light of the ASA adjudication, we have removed these advertisements from the Facebook page.”
The ads in question were:
- A post featuring an image which stated "WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST" and showed a bottle of WKD.
- Information in the advertiser's "About" section stated: "Where there's good times, there's WKD. We're all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself - especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved!"
- A post stated "HAIRCUT? [tick] WKD? [tick] UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER? [tick] Have you got a WKD side?" and showed a bottle of WKD.
- Three images showed a cartoon character dressed in a suit and tie and a hat which stated "HEAD OF WKD WEEKENDS" across the top. The first was used as the background photo for the Facebook page. The second was used alongside the text "DON'T MESS WITH CATHERINE WHEELS. HER BOYFRIEND'S MASSIVE". The third was used alongside the text "REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER. IS BIN DAY".
The complaint challenged the ads on the grounds that the first implied that alcohol could inspire confidence and was capable of changing mood and behaviour; that the first three ads suggested alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event and that the last two ads were likely to appeal to under 18-year-olds and youth culture.
The ASA upheld the first three complaints but did not find SHS drinks in breach of the code for the final complaint because:
“We considered (the third ad) …which was available to view only by those aged over 18, was not likely to have particular appeal to under-18s by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
“We noted (the forth ad), which was also available to view only by those over 18… was also not such that it was likely to have particular appeal to under-18s. We also considered the overall impression of the ad, while light hearted and colourful, was such that it was clearly intended to appeal to those interested in adult social occasions, rather than having particular appeal to under-18s.”
In February brewer Heineken fell foul of the regulations for a Kronenbourg ad, which the ASA said were misleading about the provenance of the beer, a decision the brewer vowed to challenge.