Watchdog clears government binge-drinking ad

A government drinking campaign has been cleared of breaking advertising rules – despite 27 complaints being made to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Complaints were made about two ads in the Why Let Drink Decide? campaign, produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The ads – one of which was pre-cleared for screening only with a post-watershed restriction – depicted children talking about future drinking experiences, including succumbing to peer pressure, getting into fights and having under-age sex.

Most complaints concerned whether the depiction of children talking about adult topics would cause “widespread offence”. But the ASA cleared the campaign. It said: “Although we acknowledged some viewers found the ads uncomfortable to watch, we considered the content was unlikely to be seen as disproportionate to the seriousness of the message.”?The DCSF said the ads “intended to prompt a change in behaviour” hoping to “maximise the num­ber of young people who would grow up to have a sensible relationship with alcohol”.