Alcohol brand WKD has landed in a bit of hot water following a complaint by the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council. The Advertising Standards Association has upheld the complaint lodged by the Council about alcohol brand WKD, which posted an ad on Facebook stating, “WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST.” The Facebook ad then featured a prominent shot of a bottle of WKD.
The Council believed that the ad, featured as it was on Facebook, sent the message to youth that they would feel far more confident and likely to take risks by drinking WKD. The stance of the organization is that the alcohol ad is promoting the boost of confidence that comes with drinking their alcohol, in addition to feeling mood-altering behavior as a result of consuming the beverage.
The ad has since been banned from the social media website, and the fallout from this decision has meant that other agencies marketing alcohol on social media will indeed have to be cautious in how they promote use of their product. Certainly, there has been some caution with regards to the promotion of social media on Facebook; given the social media site’s continuing heavy rotation among youth and young adults, it comes as no surprise that the Advertising Standards Association has decided to ban the ad.
Marketers will have to be cautious, however. Most brands want to appeal to the young, apparently “hip” crowd, and the alcohol market is one of the first wanting to capture that audience. It is perhaps why there are so many young adults struggling with alcohol use. The advertisements on social media and in other venues are bright, colorful and promote the notion that drinking alcohol will immediately free you up to participate in “fun” events, such as karaoke and wild dancing.
However, there is a dark side to alcohol consumption that is causing renewed airplay on social media sites such as Facebook. This has often been aired on television, encouraging those who are taken with the notion of consuming alcohol creating popularity to abandon that notion.
Social media is a venue that has had broad appeal across a range of audiences. Marketers are taking advantage of that broad appeal, but it is causing some backlash and now, marketers of more “adult-oriented” products such as alcohol need to be careful exactly how they are trying to market their products. With cool colors and great music, younger people are immediately drawn in to the appeal of the ads, so those who are involved in marketing have to be cautious about exactly what tools they are using in order to best promote their products.