Black Cow Pure Milk vodka ‘saddened’ by ASA ruling

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Stopped: ASA bans Black Cow vodka ads
Stopped: ASA bans Black Cow vodka ads

Related tags Advertising

Pure Milk Vodka has said an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling banning three of its Black Cow vodka ads was distressing, but has resulted in positive media attention.

Four complaints about the Dorset-based distiller’s adverts were made to the ASA, three of which were upheld and resulted in a ban of all three ads.

Complaints and rulings:

  • A press ad in the Week ​featured a cartoon drawing of a cow driving a sleigh and delivering gifts of Black Cow vodka. The text below said: “BLACK COW pure milk vodka. So smooth you can drink it until the cows come home…”. A member of the public complained this encouraged excessive drinking and that it was likely to appeal to children.
    Ruling: ​It was deemed the ad could encourage excessive drinking, but would not appeal to children.
  • A member of the public complained a Black Cow vodka milk video showing a couple “looking flirtatiously” at each other in a field linked alcohol with sex.
    Ruling: ​Upheld
  • Another complainant challenged whether a parody of the 1989 Accrington Stanley Milk advert encouraging youngsters to drink more milk would lead to excessive drinking.
    Ruling: ​Upheld

The complaints centred on the business’s advertisements in December 2016, including a press ad featuring a cartoon drawing of a cow driving a sleigh and delivering gifts; a video featuring a man and a woman walking through a field; and a parody of the famous 1989 Accrington Stanley Milk ad.

Complaints challenged whether the series of advertisements​ were socially responsible, whether they encouraged excessive drinking, whether the format appealed to children and whether they linked alcohol with sexual activity.

Prolonged drinking

The ASA upheld the complaint about the cartoon print ad, stating the slogan “so smooth you can drink it until the cows come home” referred to prolonged drinking.

A complaint the video ad linked sex and alcohol was also upheld, along with a complaint about the parody video, which according to the ASA was “likely to encourage excessive drinking”.

However, the ASA stated the print advertisement would not appeal to children and so did not uphold that complaint.

The ASA said: [The] ads must not appear again in the forms complained about. We told Pure Milk Vodka Ltd to ensure that their ads did not encourage excessive drinking or link alcohol to sexual activity.”

‘Saddened by the ruling’

A spokeswoman for Pure Milk Vodka told The Morning Advertiser​: “We were all saddened by the ASA ruling.

“We are a small independent British producer, we take great pride in producing the highest quality vodka and all the work we create that surrounds the brand is, I believe, of an equally excellent quality.

“So yes, we’re sad to remove them [the ads] from use.”

However, she added: “Ironically, I think the ruling has brought more attention to the brand than there would have been had there not been any complaints.”

Memory lane: The original Accrington Stanley commercial

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