The lens, which was seen on the social media app in June 2017, included a cartoon icon of a pirate designed to make the user’s face look like Captain Morgan.
It also featured two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink clinking together on screen, a seagull that flew a scroll on to the screen, which read “Live like the captain”, a voice-over that said “captain” and the sound of people cheering.
Consistent with brand trade mark
In its defence, Diageo said that the image of Captain Morgan was consistent with the brand trademark, and was intended to be light-hearted with no comedic movement of the face.
It also said it ensured all marketing communications that appeared on social media platforms only appeared on those where a minimum of 75% of the audience were aged 18 and above.
Demographic data provided to Captain Morgan by Snap Inc showed that in 2016, 77% of UK Snapchat users were registered as aged 18 or over. The lens was neither directed at nor made available to users under the age of 18.
However, ASA noted the icon was a bright, child-like cartoon image, and that the specific interactive and augmented elements of the lens, such as the user’s face being made to look like a buccaneer, the clinking glasses, references to 'captain' and the cheering, were likely to appeal to under-18s.
Snapchat 'popular with under 18s'
With the use of information provided by Snap Inc, ASA also noted the only targeting data available to Diageo on Snapchat was unverified supplied ages collected when users signed up for the platform. It considered that because the platform was popular with under-18s, that this was not sufficient to ensure that the advert was not targeted at people aged under 18.
ASA concluded such advertising was of particular appeal to people aged under 18, and directed at that age group. It therefore ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form.
Responding to the ruling, a Diageo spokesperson said: “We have a strict marketing code, take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously and acknowledge ASA’s ruling. We took all reasonable steps to ensure the content we put on Snapchat was not directed at under-18s – using the data provided to us by Snapchat and applying an age filter.
“We have now stopped all advertising on Snapchat globally while we assess the incremental age verification safeguards that Snapchat is implementing.”