Advertising

“Insane” Instagram Stories ad for drinking game app banned by watchdog

Dominic Powell /

An advertisement for a drinking game mobile app that appeared through Instagram’s ‘Stories’ function has been banned by the Advertising Standards Bureau because it depicted inappropriate drinking scenes.

The ad was for an application called ‘Full Party’ — a drinking game app that incites users to drink based on if they have or haven’t done certain things — made by Team Penguin Studio.

In the advertisement, numerous people are shown in various drinking scenarios, including a man having beer poured on him as he lays on the floor, a man using beer bottles as glasses, and a man mixing a banana and alcohol.

These scenes are accompanied by text that says: “If you’ve scored with a MILF or a DILF, drink 7 times”, “ “If your first time was after the age of 16, drink 7 times”, and “The person with the biggest nose, drink 6 sips”.

The ad then invites the user to download the “silliest app of 2018”, and directs them to the app store.

In a complaint to the Ad Standards Board, one viewer said the ad was promoting excessive alcohol consumption, and claimed the number of drinks the app promoted was “insane”.

“I understand that that is what their app is about, but 7 drinks for one round of a drinking game is insane and should not be advertised as something fun and awesome. Australia has a very serious drinking problem and widespread alcohol culture such that this ad would easily entice young people to download this app,” the complainant said

“I am very uncomfortable with it. We should not be promoting this as ‘cool’ and ‘fun’. Also it was just kinda gross to see some guy almost vomiting/spitting something out.”

Screenshots of the app from the App Store.

In its decision, the advertising watchdog upheld the complaints, declaring the advertisement’s depiction of excessive drinking goes against prevailing community standards, and it was “unclear whether measures have been taken” to make sure the ad was not seen by underage users.

Additionally, the Ad Standards Board said the ad’s suggestion that users drink seven times went against the recommended four standard drinks for Australian adults as suggested by national drinking guidelines.

“The text and imagery of various scenes of individuals who have consumed a volume of alcohol that is inconsistent with the safe consumption guidelines, did depict behaviours that condone and encourage excessive drinking and this was a message which would be contrary to prevailing community standards on safe alcohol consumption,” the Ad Standards Board said.

The advertisement was banned, however, the advertiser and app producer did not respond to the Ad Standards Board, and there was no indication as to whether the app continues to run. SmartCompany contacted Team Penguin Studio but did not receive a response prior to publication.

Social ads leading to “lax” approach

The social advertisement runs on Instagram, but appears within the platform’s ‘Stories’ feature, which allows users to upload photos or videos to their account that are then deleted after 24 hours.

Speaking to SmartCompany, director of InsideOut PR Nicole Reaney said the use of ads within Instagram stories is a fairly new phenomenon, with the function only reaching the platform last year.

She believes this case is the first one where a complaint has been levelled against an ad featured on an Instagram story, but she expects more will follow.

“As the adoption of platforms continues to rise — with around 9 million Australians with an Instagram account — it is not surprising that the ASB will start to receive more complaints,” she said.

Reaney also claims the ongoing rise of social media platforms such as Instagram is leading to a more laissez-faire approach by smaller advertisers, resulting in poorly thought out ads such as this one.

“Advertising campaigns by corporations undertake considerable thought and multi-layered approval processes, where the accessibility of social media advertising to businesses of all sizes and the pressure to churn content, is adding to a more ‘lax’ approach,” she says.

“Advertisers should be aware of legislation and community standards applicable to their sector and locality. As more users adopt social media, more eyes are on your brand and potential exposures are easily avoidable through a reasonable test measure.”

NOW READ: Watchdog rules Instagram review is advertising despite no “sponsored” tag

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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