Let us preface with the fact the we understand that the U.K. is struggling with an alcohol issue in its society. We can only admire a country that actually decides to face issues dead on, without making excuses of "freedom" or "individualism."
But there's a limit.
There is an alcoholic drink called Lambrini, and its target market is young, middle-class women. Think the New York City socialite. Its latest ad is called "Big Night In" and it features a group of ladies getting ready to have a good time indoors.
Well, several people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, the government watchdog, that Lambrini's ad glorified the use of alcohol as a necessary ingredient for a fun night out.
For some reason, the ASA agreed.
From reading the complaint and seeing the ad, it is difficult for us to see why the ad was banned. Was the Lambrini present while there was a party? Sure. Did the ad show Lambrini being consumed in copious amounts, or at all? The ad showed Lambrini being poured into glasses, but nothing touched the lips of any partygoer.
Really, then, how exactly is this ad "irresponsible"?
We get that the consumer must be protected in some cases where limited information can misinform and mislead. But when inference and perception is perceived as such, we are approaching a slippery slope.
Consumers need protection, not coddling.
If consumers think that they cannot have a good time without alcohol, there are other variables in the works, not just advertising.
Though it is much easier to pick on advertsing.
Remember "The consumer isn't a moron. She is your wife"?
Look, we don't have too much faith in the intelligence of consumers either, but we give them a little more respect than that.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.