The ASA turned its attention to social media ads this week, and came out with a barrelful of upheld rulings against a range of 'dis-pirate' ads.
In one example, a paid for Facebook ad showed rum being poured into a glass and splashing over the sides. It stated, “Pirates drink because it’s hard to find a reliable therapist on the open seas, and rum is cheaper than a shipful of parrots with good listening skills”.
The image I've used here is not the ad itself - it just made me smile, arrrggggh...
Two people challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it implied that drinking alcohol could overcome problems and had therapeutic qualities.
All at sea
Pirate’s Grog Rum Ltd said the ad was clearly intended to be fun, humorous and fictitious and was targeted at adults who would understand that it was a light hearted joke and not to be taken literally. They did not believe the ad implied that alcohol could solve problems or undermine the value of a psychologist.
Which seems fair in a way, as therapists are hard to come by on the average pirate ship in the middle of the ocean. But the ASA thought this a bit of a rum defence...
Davey Jones's Locker
The CAP Code requires that marketing communications must be socially responsible and must not imply that alcohol has therapeutic qualities or that drinking alcohol can overcome loneliness or other problems.
The ASA acknowledged the ad was intended to be light-hearted and humorous, but nonetheless concluded it had irresponsible undercurrents. The ASA believed the ad presented alcohol consumption as a solution for problems in life, which might include mental health concerns that could be treated through talking/listening therapies. The ASA believed the ad implied alcohol had therapeutic qualities.
The ASA therefore UPHELD the complaints.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. Pirate’s Grog Rum must ensure their future ads do not imply that alcohol can overcome problems or that it has therapeutic qualities.