Electronic cigarette company E-Lites has been banned from broadcasting its radio and TV adverts in their current form by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The TV advert features a father who misses his baby dancing to the former chart topping song Gangnam Style while outside smoking, while the radio advert features scenes from a wedding, an award ceremony and the birth of a child, in which a key participant was also missing after having popped out for a cigarette.
The advert stated: “What are you missing when you pop out for a cigarette? By switching to E-Lites you can legally smoke indoors with no tobacco, no smell and around 70% less cost. Find E-Lites in store or at e-lites.co.uk. E-Lites, smoking reinvented.”
The ASA received 65 complaints; one from Smokefree South West and 64 from members of the public.
Eight issues were investigated by the ASA. While the vast majority (six) were ‘not upheld’, two were, meaning that E-lites maker Zandera must ensure that its radio and TV ads are not broadcast again in their current form. No changes are required to be made to its internet banner adverts or bus-stop posters.
“While it ruled that the only references to smoking, “were entirely negative” the ASA decreed that the adverts were misleading, as they did not make clear that E-Lites contain nicotine.
It was important that “such ads made the nature of the product being advertised clear and, whether or not it contained nicotine, was material information that needed to be included in order to avoid the likelihood of misleading consumers,” the ASA said.
It also ruled that the radio and TV adverts breached the BCAP Code rule 10.5 which bans adverts that might be of particular interest to children or teenagers from referring to tobacco or smoking, unless that reference obviously formed part of an anti-smoking or anti-drugs message.
“We considered that a dancing baby was likely to be very attractive to a broad range of children for whom the baby and the dance moves would both be engaging.
“Because we considered that the content of the ad would be of particular interest to children and also referred to smoking, we concluded that the ad breached the Code,” the ASA said.
E-Lites was one of the UK’s first electronic cigarette companies to invest in TV advertising earlier this year.