WKD Facebook posts breach advertising rules

02 April, 2014

WKD has come under fire from the advertising watchdog for posting “irresponsible” messages on its Facebook page that suggested alcohol could enhance confidence and was integral to social success.

The Advertising Standards Agency upheld three complaints against WKD, banned the posts from appearing again and ordered it to be more responsible in future.

The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council, a group of children that monitor drinks companies’ social media pages on behalf of charity Alcohol Concern, made the complaints.

The group complained that a post that read “WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST” and showed a bottle of WKD implied alcohol could enhance confidence.

It said another post that stated “HAIRCUT? [tick] WKD? [tick] UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER? [tick] Have you got a WKD side?” and showed a bottle of WKD suggested alcohol was crucial to social success.

It also complained about WKD’s “About” section, which read: “Where there's good times, there's WKD. We’re all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself - especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved!”

The group said this suggested that alcohol was capable of changing mood and behaviour.

Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd said that no reference was made to alcohol playing a part in improving social situations, or to alcohol being consumed, and that was not the intended meaning.

But the ASA upheld all three complaints.

It said: “We told Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd to ensure their future advertising did not imply alcohol could enhance confidence, was integral to the success of a social event, or was capable of changing mood or behaviour.”

The YAAC also complained about three images of a cartoon character dressed in a suit and tie and a hat emblazoned with the words “HEAD OF WKD WEEKENDS”. The first was used as the background photo for the Facebook page. The second was used alongside the text “DON'T MESS WITH CATHERINE WHEELS. HER BOYFRIEND'S MASSIVE”. The third was used alongside the text “REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER. IS BIN DAY.”

The YAAC said the cartoons would appeal to children, but the ASA dismissed this complaint. 

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