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Complaint against topless influencer's ad for cocktails upheld due to alcohol laws and 'suggestive sexual content'

The ad watchdog said upheld a complaint on a number of grounds.

Image: Shutterstock/KristinaSh

THE ADVERTISING STANDARDS Authority of Ireland (ASAI) upheld a complaint against an alcohol company which used an influencer to promote its drinks products on social media. 

The advertisement, which was posted by an influencer on their Instagram account, featured the man standing by a fridge. He was bare-chested and wearing shorts. The fridge door was open and the shelves inside the door were filled with bottles of different flavours of LeCoq Cocktails. The influencer was drinking one of the cocktails by the neck.

Some of the text which accompanied the picture of the influencer read: “Well well well safe to say these Coqs are absolutely delightful – 6 different ready-made cocktails that are going to take summer by surprise this year!”

The influencer then announced a competition he was running for someone to win a crate of the cocktails. 

The complainant had three problems with the ad: firstly that the influencer featured in the ad was under 25 years old and therefore should not have appeared in an advertisement promoting alcohol as a prize to a competition; the post had used suggestive sexual content; the audience for the advertisement had not been vetted to ensure that it was over 18 years of age and that some of the influencer’s followers may be under-18.

All three aspects of the complaint were upheld by the ASAI.

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On the first issue, the watchdog said: “The Committee noted the Code requirement that anyone appearing in an alcohol advertising should be over 25. They noted that no evidence or comment had been submitted in relation to the age of the individual in the advertisement. In the absence of comment, the Committee accepted the complainant’s contention that the individual concerned was under 25 and that therefore a breach of the Code had occurred under Section 9.7(a) of the Code.” 

The distributors for the brand in Ireland responded to the complaint and said as soon as the complaint had been brought to their attention, they got in touch with the influencer and asked that it be removed.

They said that the influencer took down the post.

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