Diageo Great Britain Ltd. reportedly plans to appeal the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA’s) decision to ban a Smirnoff ® advertisement for allegedly violating the marketing rules for social responsibility in alcohol marketing. Upholding its own complaint, which claimed that the ad in question linked social success to alcohol consumption, ASA found that “the ad’s presentation implied that before the visitor asked for an alcoholic drink, the bar was cold and uninviting and that once his drink had been ordered, the bar changed and became livelier and more fun.”

Diageo disputed this interpretation, arguing that the TV spot showed the bar “tilting” to filter out the elements that gave it an unwelcoming atmosphere. According to the ruling’s summary of Diageo’s response, “The tilt acted as a physical division within the ad and where the pretentious items in the first scene were filtered out and the bar now had a warm friendly atmosphere… [I]t was the removal of the pretentiousness from the first scene that was pivotal to the change in the ad, rather than the presence of alcohol.”

“We are deeply disappointed by the ASA’s conclusion,” a Smirnoff® spokesperson was quoted as saying. “We believe the advert clearly showed two scenarios that were separated by a physical change of the bar symbolizing the ‘filtering’ of unnecessary pretentiousness, and not by presence of alcohol… we will await the decision of the ASA’s appeal process.” See Advertising Age, July 7, 2015.