V energy drink and Avengers promotions generate a range of complaints

Avengers dress up fun

School holiday activities

No doubt you noticed the V energy drink Marvel Avengers promotions recently. You couldn’t really miss them. And they have generated a few complaints to the Advertising Standards Board.

There’s the ad on the bollard that the parent of a six year old told the Advertising Standards Board encouraged her child to want a V drink because of the cartoon characters on it. There’s the other parent of a seven year old who said their child also asked her to buy those drinks after seeing the characters on the drinks in a catalogue. And there were a series of three ads in train stations featuring Avengers characters and V energy drink. The parents were concerned that this is not a drink for children. We agree with the parents. At the time, it was school holidays and the Avengers characters were featuring in shopping centre activities, clearly for a child audience.

In dismissing all the complaints about this promotion, the Advertising Standards Board agreed that the Avengers characters were “indeed attractive to children- albeit also attractive to an adult audience”, and that “the choice of product was an unfortunate one to use in conjunction with The Avengers characters”. The case report indicates that some of the Board did think that it was contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety to market a product that is unsuitable for children using well recognised cartoon characters. However the final decision indicates that the Board concluded that labelling the product “not suitable for children” was sufficient effort to avoid breaching prevailing community standards.

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