Independent Distillers' Three Kings outdoor, Print and online

Six complaints December 2010 through February 2011


THE ADS:  Each of the complaints about Three Kings cider/lager/vodka premix advertising related to the age of the models in the advertisements, who looked very young, wore youth fashion and were depicted skateboarding.

ISSUES RAISED: Complaints were made about substantially similar content (photographic images) that were considered by both the ABAC Panel and the Advertising Standards Bureau.
Four complaints to ABAC raised ABAC provisions requiring models used in advertisements to be over 25 and clearly depicted as adults, and concerns that the advertising appealed to young people and encouraged underage drinking. 

Two complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau raised issues  around the models’ young age and under the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics ‘Health and Safety’ provision, relating to the depiction of alcohol consumption in conjunction with skateboarding.

OUTCOME: In relation to the ABAC provisions that prohibit alcohol advertisements from having a strong or evident appeal to children or adolescents, the advertiser argued that the models used were ‘in their twenties’ (but did not confirm they were over 25, as required under ABAC), that they were wearing ‘on trend fashion apparel’ and had not been deliberately dressed in a more youthful way than they would dress themselves, and that skateboarding is an ‘ageless lifestyle choice’.

The ABAC Panel noted in each instance that it had no jurisdiction over the advertiser as it was not a signatory to the ABAC Scheme.  The Panel nonetheless found the advertisements breached the ABAC for encouraging underage drinking, appealing to children or adolescents, featuring models under the age of 25 and featuring models not clearly depicted as adults.

The Advertising Standards Bureau dismissed both the complaints, holding that the models were over 18 and therefore of legal drinking age, and that depicting skateboarding and alcohol together, although ‘not desirable’, is not contrary to prevailing community standards around health and safety.  
The number of complaints over a December to February timeframe suggests the advertisements continued over a series of weeks beyond ABAC’s initial December 2010 determination.