Morrisons criticised for YouTube alcohol advert

Morrisons' spirits ad on YouTube had not been targeted responsibly, ruled the ASA

Morrisons has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after its video advertisement, broadcast during a series of children’s nursery rhymes on YouTube, featured images of spirit bottles with the voice-over “These litre bottles of spirits are £15 each …”

The advertising watchdog told Morrisons to ensure its ads were “appropriately targeted in future”, following a viewer’s complaint that it was irresponsible to show the ad during a video that was targeted at young children.

TV advertising group

But Morrisons said the ad had been approved by the non-governmental TV advertising group Clearcast because it was also to appear on TV. While the restrictions on the broadcast of the ad applied by Clearcast had been supplied to the organisation responsible for placing its ads online, they had not been followed, said the retailer.

YouTube said they had mechanisms in place that should prevent alcohol content from being served during content that was family-friendly. But users should not log in with an account that declared they were over 18 years of age if they were watching YouTube with a minor, said the online video provider.

Morrisons and YouTube

The ASA noted that both Morrisons and YouTube had implemented processes to ensure ads for alcohol were not directed at those under 18 years of age. “However, we considered that the YouTube video in question was very unlikely to be viewed by an adult unless they were watching with a young child,” said the ASA.

“We concluded that although Morrisons had taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the ad was targeted responsibly, it had not been targeted responsibly and therefore the ad breached the code.”

The watchdog ruled that the ad breached clauses of the advertising code covering rules on social responsibility, children and alcohol.

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