Advertisers have kept regulators busy this week. Among its several adjudications (see www.asa.org.uk) the ASA upheld a complaint against Imperial Tobacco for an ad that could be seen to condone the consumption of illegal drugs. UK company Zig Zag had complained that the ad for well known cigarette paper Rizla+ was a clear allusion to drug culture.
The ad featured a Rizla packet that was twisted at one end and accompanied by the caption "Twist and" "Burn+". The ASA agreed that fat roll-ups twisted at one end could indeed look like joints associated with cannabis smoking and that "twist and burn" is slang associated with twisting off the end of a joint before lighting and smoking it.
Imperial Tobacco delivered the admirable defence that the phrase actually referred to twisting the throttle of a motorcycle and burning the rubber of its tyres as you screech off into the sunset. Needless to say the ASA upheld the complaint and told Imperial Tobacco not to use the ad again in the future.
So next time you see someone buy a packet of Rizla don't be prejudiced, they could be off for a spin on their motorbike.