AGWA Herbal Energy Liqueur
THE AD: This determination related to the website for the product AGWA, a 30% ABV herbal ‘energy’ liqueur made with coca leaves and stimulant herbs including guarana and ginseng.
ISSUES RAISED: The complaint raised provisions from both the AANA Code of Ethics and the ABAC.
Issues under the AANA Code of Ethics:
- Depiction of violence. The advertisement depicted violent criminal activity associated with drug use and drug dealing, including images of guns, bullets, knuckledusters, and drug-related paraphernalia such as razor blades.
- Standards on health and safety. Depictions of handguns, knuckledusters and drug paraphernalia in an alcohol advertisement should be considered contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.
Issues under ABAC:
- Approach to alcohol consumption. Website statements, such as ‘It’s a powerful jolt of energy that will get you drunk’ do not present a responsible approach to alcohol consumption.
- Promoting offensive behavior. Implication that AGWA contains cocaine; references to illicit drug use.
- Depiction of sexual success linked with AGWA, eg with statements such as ‘It’s a powerful jolt of energy that … may enhance your sexual stamina.’
OUTCOME: The advertiser was not a signatory to the ABAC scheme. In its December 2010 determination, ABAC Panel found the advertisement to breach ABAC provisions relating to the requirement for advertisements to present mature, balanced and responsible approaches to alcohol consumption, and to not encourage excessive consumption or promote offensive behaviour. The advertiser suspended the website and the Panel relied on statements from the advertiser expressing an intention to ensure any future advertisements are compliant with industry standards, and that the new AGWA website would be submitted to ABAC for comment before it went live.
In January 2011, the Advertising Standards Bureau informed the complainant that it would not consider the complaint because the advertiser had informed the Bureau that the advertisement had been withdrawn.
The AGWA website reappeared during 2011. As at June 2012, a number of statements that link AGWA, cocaine and illegal activity remained on the website, which also linked to a YouTube video called ‘the Bolivian Job 2’, which depicts cocaine production and criminal activity. There is no evidence that the ABAC Panel or the Advertising Standards Bureau have acted in relation to the reappearance of the website.