Oops! Coca Cola made a tactful mistake in its advertising campaign in Germany.
The article has prompted considerations on the effect of such an advertisement if published in the UK. The main controls on advertising content in the UK are set out in the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) and UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) (in addition to the provisions set out in The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008).
In particular, Rule 4 of the CAP Code elaborates on what is meant by "decency" in advertising, and explains that advertisements should not contain anything that is likely to cause widespread offence and that particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability. In the event of a breach of the BCAP and CAP Codes, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which presides the self-regulatory regime, has the power to intervene and ask the advertiser to withdraw or change the offending advertisement. Although ASA cannot levy fines, it does have a number of other sanctions which it can use to ensure compliance (such as refusal of further advertising space; adverse publicity; withdrawal of trading privileges). Trading Standards Services (TSS) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) instead can seek an injunction through the Courts to prevent the same or similar claims being made in future advertisements.
Coca-Cola has been forced to withdraw their latest Fanta advert in Germany. All they did was refer to “the good old times” during which Fanta was created. Doesn’t seem much does it? But Fanta was developed in Germany in 1941 during the “good old times” of the Third Reich. Back then there was difficulty finding supplies available to produce coke. The advert, commissioned to honour the drink’s 75th anniversary, ends on the unfortunate line: “Good like before… just today.”