ASA rules in favour of Strongbow after ad complaint

strongbow dark fruit cider can

The Advertising Standard Authority has rejected a complaint regarding a tweet and TV advert for Strongbow cider. The complainant believed the content contained themes that “were associated with youth culture” and therefore may appeal to under 18s, breaching the BCAP Code.

The advert in question was seen on May 20, 2022. Promoting Strongbow Ultra Dark Fruit, the ad featured a purple CGI goat with “garage music” and on-screen text that read “drink the G.O.A.T”. The complainant also noted a tweet from Strongbow UK’s Twitter account seen on May 2 which read: “Strongbow ULTRA Dark Fruit. Natural flavours. 95Kcal per can. No wonder it’s the G.O.A.T [purple heart emoji] Try it for yourself #NewTastesGood # [purple goat emoji] #UltraGoat [purple goat emoji].”

The complainant suggested that the content may have a “strong appeal” to people under 18 due to its imagery, music and use of the acronym “G.O.A.T”. Strongbow’s parent brand, Heineken UK, disputed the complaints, saying it had “taken particular care to ensure that the ads did not appeal to under-18s”.

It noted that the phrase “G.O.A.T [greatest of all time]” was first used in 1992, and therefore had no particular connection to “youth culture”. Similarly, it noted that the advert’s music, which was a track called Daga Dag by DJ Sammy Virji, fell under the “UK-based bass/garage” genre, which was “prevalent in the 1990s”. 

In terms of the tweet, Heineken said the content was aimed at an 18+ audience and would “never appear in the feed of someone under the age of 18 who had entered their correct personal details on the platform”.

While ASA acknowledged that the “whimsical” imagery of the advert could appeal to some under 18s, it found that the “serious and realistic” depiction of the goat character would “not be likely to have a strong appeal to under 18s”. Additionally, it found that Heineken had conducted diligence checks to show that the majority of DJ Sammy Virji’s followers on social media were over 18, meaning the music was also “unlikely” to have a strong appeal to under 18s. 

It concluded that no further action was necessary.

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