CharGrilled withdraw ad of child ‘smoking and drinking’

Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Online clothing brand CharGrilled, known for its funny, retro and offensive T-shirts, has withdrawn an advert from Viz magazine that showed a young girl holding a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, alongside the text “Be a cool kid”. The print advert appeared in the April issue of Viz magazine and the Advertising Standards Authority felt that the ad breached its rules, because it not only featured a child who appeared to be smoking and drinking alcohol, but that it also suggested that doing so could enhance a person’s popularity.

The ASA’s ruling found that the ad breached its codes on responsible advertising, harm and offence, children and alcohol, as the girl in the ad, "appeared to be around 9 or 10 years old" in breach of its regulations which state that people shown drinking or playing a significant role in ads featuring alcohol must not be, or seem to be, under 25-years-old.

"We considered that both smoking and drinking alcohol were practices that were likely to result in harm to children," the ASA said in its ruling, adding that they were also concerned by the ad’s text that appeared to “condone“ underage drinking and smoking.

Online clothing retailer runs ad featuring a child smoking and drinking

In response, CharGrilled said the ad “did not enhance the popularity of drinking or smoking”, but did accept that the girl pictured appeared to be under the age of 25, which breached the ASA’s rules, and that they had now withdrawn the ad. The online retailer added that they had taken the image from a stock photo library and had not chosen the specific model that appeared in the ad.

The ASA did note that it “welcomed CharGrilled Ltd's assurance that the ad had been withdrawn” and told the retailer that their future ads must not feature children appearing to smoke or drink.

In response to the ruling, Dennis Publishing, the publishers of Viz magazine, stated that they had not received any complaints directly from readers, but on reflection considered that the ad should not have run in the magazine. They said as a result of the complaint they were making changes to their internal advertising review processes and would ensure that the same issue did not recur in future.

Image: CharGrilled advert