Marketing

BMX store pulls “tongue-in-cheek” video after ad watchdog rules it used inappropriate language and did not encourage responsible drinking

Broede Carmody /

 

The advertising watchdog has upheld a complaint by a disgruntled parent after their child received a “tongue-in-cheek” beer video from a BMX clothing and accessories store.

In one of its recent emails to customers, Strictly BMX embedded a video showing a guy buying some beer on a bike and bringing it back to drink with his mates.

The text below the video clip included the phrase “drink response… responsillybilly hahah fuck it we’re drunk”.

In a single complaint to the Advertising Standards Board, the parent said the commercial was not appropriate for children.

“I have a 16-year-old son who purchases goods from this company for his bike,” the person wrote.

“Most of this company’s customers are children and they are promoting drinking and getting drunk on this email.”

In response, the business told the advertising watchdog the video was intended to come across as “tongue-in-cheek” and is meant to poke fun at a typical beer ad.

“It was made by one of our shop customers, which we do not want to name so that he does not get in any trouble as he made it for fun,” Strictly BMX told the Advertising Standards Board.

“We just thought it would be funny and no one in the ad is underage… [we] are in no way trying to promoting kids to get drunk. Also, the person making the complaint says that most of our customers are under 18, which is not the case – our customers are between 14 and 30. On average, most are actually over 18.”

However, the majority of the advertising standards board found the word “fuck”, which accompanied the video, was a word many members of the community would find obscene and not appropriate when marketing bike products.

Because of this, the advertising watchdog ruled the ad used strong and obscene language.

The board also found the ad breached community standards because it showed a man riding a bike without a helmet.

In addition, the video was not in line with “prevailing community standards” in regards to the responsible consumption of alcohol, according to the watchdog.

“The board considered that a depiction of young males drinking alcohol, and spitting it out, on the street is not a message consistent with responsible drinking of alcohol,” the Advertising Standards Board ruled.

As a result, the complaint was upheld.

Strictly BMX has since removed the ad from its Facebook and Instagram pages.

“Obviously it only went out that once in a mail-out and won’t go out or be used again,” the business told the watchdog.

Michelle Gamble, founder of Marketing Angels, told SmartCompany businesses need to be careful when it comes to publishing user-generated content.

“Brands have to think about it as content,” Gamble says.

“If you have a market, how old are they? It’s difficult because it’s not something they’ve created, it’s a fan of BMX bikes, and they thought they’d send it out for a bit of a laugh. But they can’t be seen to be supporting that sort of thing.”

SmartCompany contacted Strictly BMX but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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