Vodka Cruiser found to be targeting children on Instagram by ad watchdog

Vodka Cruiser has been lambasted by the ad watchdog for suggesting “heavy consumption of alcohol is acceptable” and using a model with “clear skin” which is “suggestive of a young teenager rather a person aged over 18 years”.

The criticised post on Vodka Cruiser’s Instagram page, which has since been deleted, consisted of a young women with sparkly star stickers under her eyes, accompanied by the caption “vodkacruiser. How to cover your dark circle the morning after”.

The complaint posted to the Advertising Standards Bureau said: “It is clear that the advertisement is primarily directed towards children, as it consists solely of an image of the face of a child who appears to be under 14 years of age, and who is presented in a highly childish fashion with star-shaped glitter under her eyes.

“The post is an alcohol promotion that we believe is intended to target minors, and that would have strong appeal to minors,” the complaint said.

The Cancer Council, who made the complaint to the ASB, said in a statement: “This blatant breach highlights the need for stronger regulation to protect children and young people. Alcohol brands should not be using social media or any form of marketing to target young people.

“We hope this decision is a wake-up call for alcohol brands.”

Asahi Premium Beverages, the parent company of the Vodka Cruiser brand, responded to the complaint against its Instagram content claiming the social media page warns users must be 18 or over to follow it. The brand has since amended its bio to “Must be age 18+ to follow & use our hashtags. Please don’t share with those under the legal purchasing age for alcohol. Drink responsibly.”

Vodka Cruiser’s Australian Instagram page

The advertiser conceded the model does look under the age of 25, however, doesn’t look younger than 18 years of age and its target consumer is females aged 18-24.

“We don’t agree that it has strong appeal to children,” Asahi Premium Beverages stated.

Although the watchdog recognised it “can be difficult to judge the age of a person”, it said because the model in this advert had glitter under her eyes and looked youthful, the post suggested the person was around 13 or 14 years old.

“In the Board’s view the advertisement would be appealing to young people due to the young age of the model and the use of glitter.

“The majority of the Board noted that the comment about covering dark circles is preceded by the name of the advertised product, Vodka Cruiser, and considered that in the context of a promotion for an alcoholic beverage the reference to dark circles is most likely to be interpreted as a reference to heavy drinking the night before.

“Overall the Board considered that the use of a model who appears under the age of 18 promoting an alcoholic beverage in a manner likely to appeal to children, coupled with the suggestion that heavy consumption of alcohol is acceptable as you can just use glitter to cover your dark circles, is against Prevailing Community Standards on the responsible promotion and consumption of alcohol,” the ASB found.

Since the complaint Vodka Cruiser has updated its Instagram bio and removed all posts which could appeal to children.


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