LONDON - The advertising watchdog has denied it wants to ban attractive people from alcohol ads, following stinging criticism from drinks brand Lambrini, the first drink to fall foul of tough new regulations.
Halewood International, which makes the drinks brand, is furious after being told by the Advertising Standards Association to alter a forthcoming £2m advertising push.
Called "Fun in the sun" the poster campaign, by Manchester agency Cheetham Bell JWT, had featured three young girls winning a hunky male model at a fairground.
However, the ASA said this would fall foul of regulations brought in earlier this year banning links between alcohol and sexual success and recommended replacing the model with one who is "unattractive, overweight, middle-aged and balding".
An ASA spokesman said: "This does not mean that we are banning attractive people from alcohol advertising. It is wrong to suggest that.
"But what we are concerned about is when there is an implication that there is a link between sexual success and alcohol, which we felt had occurred in this case."
Halewood chairman John Halewood has announced it has now reluctantly replaced the model with an unattractive version for the campaign's launch on August 1.
Halewood said: "The ASA makes some very understandable rulings to encourage sensible drinking, but we're not sure they're qualified to decide for the nation who's sexy and who's not. Sexual attraction is happily one of the few things in life that can't be governed.
"Beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder, perhaps the ASA people should take a look in the mirror before they decide they've got the rulebook on sexual prowess."
Lambrini was ordered to clear all advertising with the ASA's Copy Advice Team after a poster campaign last year featuring sexual innuendo-loaded slogans based on horse racing such as "I love a man with a powerful beast between his legs".
These ads, which received 11 complaints and were deemed by the ASA to be offensive, were also created by CheethamBell JWT and appeared in railway stations in Liverpool.
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