Insights ASA rejects Alcohol Concern’s complaint that a Bulmer’s promotion featuring high-tops was likely to be of particular appeal to people under 18.

An online competition encouraged consumers to submit photos of bottles of Bulmer’s cider in order to win a pair of personalised Converse high-top trainers.  Alcohol Concern, who believed high-top trainers were associated with youth culture, challenged whether the competition would have particular appeal to people under 18 years of age.

The ASA acknowledged that Converse was a popular and fashionable brand that would appeal to younger people.  However, as a brand with a history of producing sports shoes dating back to the 1920s and wider visibility as casual footwear from the 1960s onwards, the ASA considered that Converse had a broad appeal to people of a range of ages rather than being of particular appeal to under 18s.

The ASA understood that data referred to by the advertiser was based on responses from 2,828 individuals who had either expressed an intent to purchase or who had purchased (the precise nature of the survey question was not made clear) Converse shoes in the previous year.  This was then broken down by age group.  Crucially, the ASA noted that 92% of respondents demonstrating interest in Converse shoes were over 18.

The ASA also understood that although the web page was accessible to anyone viewing the Bulmer’s website (provided that they confirmed they were over 18), it was likely to have been accessed predominantly by people who had purchased Bulmer’s cider after seeing the on-pack sales promotions in store.  The ASA noted that entering the competition was conditional on submitting a photograph of an open bottle of Bulmer’s, which should not have been purchased by under-18s and considered that the competition web page was likely to be of appeal to and predominantly visited by over-18s.

Given the prize and the steps taken to limit access to the competition to over-18s, the ASA concluded that the competition was not likely to be of particular appeal to people under 18 and, as such, the ad did not breach rules 18.1 and 18.14 (Alcohol) of the CAP Code.  To read the ASA Ruling on Heineken UK Ltd (11 May 2016), click here.