ASA cancels Litty Liquor party


The ASA has recently ruled against three adverts from Litty Liquor placed on Instagram and featuring the rapper, ArrDee.  The complaints were that: 

  • all of adverts breached the prohibition against featuring someone who was, or seemed to be, under 25; and
  • the use of the phrase "#GETLIT" in one ad encouraged excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

ArrDee, who played a significant role in all three ads (including consuming alcohol in one) was 20 years old at the time the ads appeared, and so the ASA upheld the claim that the ads featured someone who was under 25. 

In relation to whether "#GETLIT" encouraged excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol, the ad in question showed ArrDee sampling different alcoholic drinks in a nightclub environment that came across as unsatisfactory. In the ad, ArrDee then formulated his own blend of spiced rum before consuming it in the nightclub, and joining a larger crowd as part of a more energetic, party-like atmosphere. The phrase “#GETLIT” was shown on screen. The ASA noted the following in respect of the word "lit":

"…the word “lit” had a long history of being used as a slang term for being drunk, and that it had also become popular within the rap music scene to indicate being intoxicated. We noted that in recent years the term “lit” had also been used in rap music to mean that something was exciting, or of an excellent quality."

In the context of the ad which centred on the creation and consumption of an alcoholic drink, the ASA therefore found that "consumers would likely associate the phrase “#GETLIT” … to relate to the consumption of alcohol, and becoming intoxicated" and so determined that it would encourage excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

Interestingly, Litty Liquor did not really contend the complaints. In relation to the first, they admitted that they had been unaware of the requirements of the CAP Code and that ArrDee had been under 25. On the second, whilst they suggested it was not their intention, they acknowledged that "#GETLIT" could have been perceived as promoting excessive and irresponsible alcohol consumption.


Litty Liquor is by no means alone in having fallen afoul of the rule against featuring someone who was, or seemed to be, under 25. In just the past year, there have been a number of different rulings against brands on this basis. It's interesting to note that in many of those cases, the brand was either unsure of the age of relevant person(s) or has admitted that they were under the relevant age. 

Whilst checking the age of individuals could help brands to avoid featuring individuals who are below the age of 25, the second aspect of the rule, that individuals must not seem to be under 25, is challenging. What exactly does 25 look like? How should advertisers approach compliance with this rule? 

In an ASA ruling from 2020 in relation to Global Brands that featured an individual called Luke Mabbot, Global Brands told the ASA that Luke Mabbott had been chosen carefully and was over the age of 25 at the time the ad was published. The ASA concluded that whilst "he had a youthful appearance, he did not appear to be under 25 years old in the image". 

The Global Brands case is perhaps an indicator that if an advertiser can demonstrate that it has completed proper diligence and carefully selected individuals above the age of 25, the ASA may be more inclined to find that there has been no breach of the rule. But clearly this is a complex rule and merely selecting an individual who is 25 or over may not be sufficient, otherwise the rule would just be not to use individuals below the age of 25. Therefore, diligence that demonstrates why the advertisers have formed the view that the individual does not appear under 25 may also go some way to helping with their ASA compliance obligations. 


This ruling is an excellent demonstration of why it is so important for those advertising to an audience in the UK to be up-to-speed with the CAP Code, or to be advised by those who are. The ruling clearly illustrates that a lack of knowledge of the rules that apply to your advertising is likely to be given short shrift by the ASA. Therefore, to avoid the ramifications (e.g. wasted costs, reputational damage, etc.) of an advertising campaign that is on the wrong side of an adverse ASA ruling, it's critical that agencies and advertisers alike are familiar with the relevant rules, or instruct professional advisers who can help them navigate the rules.

For further information and/or legal support with your advertising queries, please get in touch.

Quote mark icon

consumers would likely associate the phrase “#GETLIT” ... to relate to the consumption of alcohol, and becoming intoxicated. We therefore considered that the ad was likely to encourage excessive consumption of alcohol.
featured image