Diageo to appeal Smirnoff ad ban

Diageo is to appeal an advertising ban for its Smirnoff drinks brand after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it implied the succes of a social occasion was dependent on alcohol.

The advert, created by 72andSunny, depicted people standing in a bar, looking unfriendly and was shot as if the camera were a person walking amongst them and through the bar. The scene then shifted and a bartender poured vodka and a mixer into a glass and music started to play. The atmosphere of the bar became brighter and the people in the bar began to smile at each other and towards the camera. On-screen text stated 'Filter the unneccesary. Keep the good stuff'.

The ASA itself raised concern that the advert implied alcohol was key to a fun evening out.

Diageo said the premise of the ad was to show that people in a pretentious bar are less friendly than those in a relaxed bar scene. Diageo said in the second part of the ad the people were behaving in a natural and relaxed way because they were "being themselves and not taking themselves too seriously".

The drinks giant added that the removal of the pretentiousness from the first scene was pivotal to the change in the ad, rather than the presence of alcohol.

However the ASA disagreed and said the contrast between the two scenes implied it was the presence of the alcohol that was the pivotal point in the bar's transformation.

Julie Bramham, marketing director, Smirnoff, said of the ruling: “We are deeply disappointed by the ASA’s conclusion and will be appealing the decision. We believe the advert clearly showed two scenarios that were separated by a physical change of the bar symbolising the “filtering” of unnecessary pretentiousness, and not by the presence of alcohol. Pre-approval was granted by Clearcast and we will await the decision of the ASA’s appeal process.”

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

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