The ASA said the Filter ad – launched as part of a £15 million campaign for the UK’s best-selling spirit brand last year – implied that the success of a social occasion “depended on the presence of alcohol”.
In the commercial, the atmosphere in a bar changes from frosty to warm after the bar tilts and a bartender pours vodka and a mixer into a glass.
The ASA said Diageo has told its complaints panel that “it was the removal of pretentiousness from the first scene that was pivotal to the change in the ad, rather than the presence of alcohol”.
But the regulator added: “We considered the contrast between the two implied it was the presence of alcohol that was the pivotal point in the bar’s transformation”.
It ruled that the ad breached separate advertising rules on social responsibility and alcohol and that it must not be aired again in its current form.
Smirnoff marketing director Julie Bramham said the OK had been granted by ad approval body Clearcast.
“We are deeply disappointed by the ASA’s conclusion and will be appealing the decision,” she added.
“We believe the advert clearly showed two scenarios that were separated by a physical change of the bar symbolising the filtering of unnecessary pretentiousness, and not by the presence of alcohol.
“Pre-approval was granted by Clearcast and we will await the decision of the ASA’s appeal process.”