Suspected underage ad views cause Diageo to pull Snapchat campaigns

Andy Boxall

In App Business

January 3, 2018

Diageo PLC, which owns the Captain Morgan rum brand along with various others, has canceled its advertising campaigns with Snapchat, after it was accused of allowing its ads to be seen by those under the age of 18 on the social network.

The campaign involved a Sponsored Lens promotion, which changed the user’s face into one obscured by two glasses of rum, along with the brand’s pirate hat. Diageo said it did everything it reasonably could to avoid targeting users under 18, and questioned the accuracy of Snapchat’s own age data.

Snapchat’s 2016 data states 77% of UK users are older than 18, but the UK Advertising Standards Agency — which pulled Diageo up on the problem — said independent data showed younger users lied about their age to join. The ASA said the Lens would appeal to children.

In a statement, Snapchat said:

“Snapchat now offers among the most sophisticated targeting in the industry and by introducing new tools such as Audience Lenses and incorporating additional signals into our targeting, advertisers have a reliable and flexible way to ensure their ads reach the right audience.”

Diageo has stopped its Snapchat advertising while it further examines Snapchat’s age safeguards.