Vype, the e-cigarettes brand, has become the latest e-cigarette manufacturer to fall fowl of the ad watchdog, after a poster ad was banned for portraying the product as a smoking cessation device.
The Advertising Standards Authority received 15 complaints about television and poster ads for CN Creative, which trades as Vype, for its brand of e-cigarettes.
The ads were by the creative agency Iris Worldwide and CN Creative. They worked with the ad clearance service Clearcast to develop the ads.
The poster version of the ad featured a young woman in mid-air with a smoke barrier behind her and text, which read: "Vype e-cigarettes. Experience the breakthrough. No tobacco. No smoke. Just pure satisfaction for smokers."
An image of the product features a black case with two e-cigarettes protruding while footnote text read: "Contains nicotine. 18+ only. Read leaflet in pack."
Complainants to the ASA said the ad was irresponsible because it glamorised nicotine, e-cigarettes and smoking.
The ASA also challenged whether both the television and poster ads misleadingly implied the product could be used as a smoking cessation device.
Responding to the complaints, CN Creative explained that its advertising presented the product as an alternative to tobacco and was targeted at adult smokers or nicotine users, both in content and placement.
The company said the image on the poster was dramatic rather than glamorous and there were no images of the product in use and also not associated with any social situation implying popularity or sophistication.
The text in the ad made it clear it was only for adults, the company added.
But the ASA said the text "experience the breakthrough" was likely to be interpreted as meaning that smokers could be satisfied by the product instead of from traditional cigarettes and was "likely to be understood as a smoking cessation device".
The ASA said this breached rules on social responsibility, misleading advertising and rules on medical devices and the company was told the poster ad must not appear again in its current form.
However, a television version of the ad for the product was cleared by the ASA despite claims it glamorised nicotine, e-cigarettes and smoking wand was likely to appeal to young people and normalise the idea of smoking for that demographic.
The TV ad featured a young man and woman running through city streets set to an energetic soundtrack while on-screen text reads: "Contains nicotine. 18+ only. Read leaflet in pack." The man is then shown walking through glass doors marked with 18+ and then both people are launched into the air through a smoke barrier.
The ASA found the overall impression viewers were likely to take, was that Vype was a product aimed at e-cigarette users, which offered a different experience to other brands, and so did not misleadingly imply Vype was a smoking cessation device.
Previous e-cigarette adjudications by the ASA include the watchdog banning an ad for ‘5 Colors’ because it did not make clear that the product was not for under-18s.
And in February, the ASA banned an ad for the VIP brand and said it must not be shown before 11pm again because of its overtly sexual nature.
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