UK-based alcohol beverage maker Diageo has removed all of its advertisements related to rum brand Captain Morgan’s on Snapchat after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) raised concerns that the ads could encourage children to consume alcoholic beverages.

Advertisements for Captain Morgan first appeared on Snapchat in June last year.

One ad encouraged users to dress up as the brand’s cartoon pirate mascot and share their image. It also contained a video depicting two glasses of a mixed alcoholic drink, a seagull,  a scroll featuring the words ‘Live like the Captain’ and a voice-over that said ‘Captain’ with the sounds of cheering people.

“[The ASA] directed Captain Morgan to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted in the future.”

ASA said: “We noted that the lens [advertisement] did not, however, use particularly bright colours, but it did age and add a beard to the user’s face, which we considered was of comedic effect.

“Taken together with the lens icon, we considered that the specific interactive and augmented elements of the lens, such as the user’s face being made to look like a buccaneer, the clinking glasses, references to ‘captain’ and the cheering, were likely to appeal particularly to those under 18.

“We, therefore, concluded that the ad breached the code.”

In response to ASA directives, Diageo claimed that the image of Captain Morgan in the Snapchat lens does not have bright, loud or artificial colours that would be of particular appeal to people under the age of 18.

The advertising regulatory authority further added that Snapchat’s user targeting options at that time period were based on insufficient and unverified data, and was contradicting with the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing, which states that the marketing communications for alcoholic drinks must not be directed to people below 18 years of age.

The ASA concluded by saying that the ad must not appear again in its current form and directed Captain Morgan to ensure their ads were appropriately targeted in the future.