• June 24, 2024

U.K. Bans Nordic Spirit Video Game Ad

 U.K. Bans Nordic Spirit Video Game Ad
Photo: JTI

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Nordic Spirit nicotine pouch ad for implying that the product has a mood-altering and stimulant effect, reports The Evening Standard.

The ad appeared on Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service, and depicted people using Gallaher’s Nordic Spirit pouches as they got ready to play an online video game. The players reacted enthusiastically to the game while online text read, “A new nicotine experience,” “great flavors,” “pocket-sized convenience” and “never miss a moment.”

There was small text on the screen throughout the advertisement stating that the product was for those 18-plus, that it contained nicotine and that nicotine is addictive.

Gallaher said the ad did not intend to target minors; according to the company, 85 percent of Crunchyroll’s audience was 18 years or older. The streaming service requires users to confirm that they are at least 16 years old.

The ASA found that the ad did not breach rules in respect of the ad being appropriately targeted to its audience. However, it did find that the product was not advertised responsibly.

The video ad was designed purely to emphasize the hands-free convenience of Nordic Spirit for existing adult nicotine users as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

JTI

“We considered that the combination of the depiction of players using the product as they were about to start the game, the sense of anticipation created by music building to a drop and their reactions of excitement associated the use of the product with the game,” the ASA said. “These all implied that it had a mood-altering and stimulant effect, which would enhance enjoyment and gameplay. In the context of an ad for a product that contained nicotine, we considered that was irresponsible and breached the code.”

“We are disappointed with the finding that our advert for Nordic Spirit suggested that using the product made video gaming more fun and enjoyable and that the advert implied a mood-altering or stimulant effect,” said a spokesperson for Gallaher’s parent company, JTI. “The video ad was designed purely to emphasize the hands-free convenience of Nordic Spirit for existing adult nicotine users as an alternative to smoking cigarettes or using other nicotine-containing products.”

“While we maintain that at no point did our advert convey any mood-altering or stimulant effect, the ASA’s decision does provide some useful and clearer guidance to help ensure that ads for nicotine-containing products meet the ASA’s requirements.”