“Irresponsible” WKD Facebook ads banned after complaint by Youth Alcohol Advertising Council

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today upheld a complaint by the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) and banned an advert on Beverage Brands’ Facebook page for WKD, which it said implied alcohol could enhance confidence and was integral to the success of a social event.

The Facebook page for WKD showed various ads including a post that featured an image which stated: "WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST" and showed a bottle of WKD.”

The YAAC said the ads implied alcohol could enhance confidence and was capable of changing mood and behaviour.

Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd said that no reference was made to alcohol playing a part in improving social situations, or to alcohol being consumed, and that was not the intended meaning.

Whilst the ads did not actually show any alcohol being consumed the ASA felt that the combination of bottles of WKD being prominently shown throughout the ads with the surrounding text meant it was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that alcohol could enhance confidence and is a key component for social occasions.

Laura Mackenzie, an expert in brands and advertising at law firm Browne Jacobson, said: “This is not the first time that the YAAC - a group that monitor alcohol advertising to ensure young people are protected from exposure – has achieved success against alcohol industry ads.

“Once again we see that it is vital to monitor your social media presence, a medium heavily used by young people; this decision highlights the importance of reviewing ads in light of the ASA advertising rules for alcohol which are amongst the strictest in the world.”

The ads must not appear again in their current form.

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