Alcopop brand Hooch has had an influencer campaign starring Vine celebrity Joe Charman spiked by the Advertising Standards Authority for promoting "juvenile behaviour."
The drink, which is owned by Global Brands, enlisted the star as part of a social media push which ran across Vine, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube over a three month period. Other famous faces from Vine including Huw Samuel, Leslie Wai and Stuggy were also named as brand ambassadors, but the ban applies only to a some elements of the push centered around Charman.
As part of Hooch's campaign, a video of Charman, who is also known as 'The Skills Guy', was posted on his Facebook page. Titled 'When its [sic] your round... make sure it a Hooch' (below), the spot depicted him holding three bottles of the drink beside a pool. He was shown taking a run and jump onto an inflatable that was in the water and landed on it before floating across the pool while holding the drinks, which he passed on to two friends at the other side.
One complainant told the Watchdog the ad depicted Charman behaving in a "juvenile manner," and that because he was a Vine star popular with young people the ad breached the code. The ASA agreed, saying that the ad was "likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s."
Formerly a standup comedian, the Viner first went viral after pulling off a variety of tricks in a series dubbed 'I've Got Skills,' and has since become known for his "impressive but pointless" tricks which include throwing a football over his shoulder into a bin and successfully flipping a pencil behind his ear in one attempt.
On the basis of this, Hooch argued that Charman's Facebook page often showed him achieving seemingly impossible feats, adding that his audience was entertained by him doing things that most people would find very difficult, or impossible. Charman agreed, asserting that it was obvious to his fan base the feats shown were not "real or achievable." He said his audience understood that the videos were intended to entertain, not to promote juvenile behaviour.
The ad must not appear again in its current form, with the wathdog telling Hooch to ensure that those playing a "significant role" in future ads were not shown behaving in an adolescent or juvenile manner.
Influencer marketing practices are increasingly coming under the spotlight as marketers continue to turn to internet ambassadors. Earlier this year the CMA said it was prepared to clamp down on social media campaigns that misled consumers, while ISBA recently launched its first contract for advertisers to use when working with influencers.