Two outdoor ads for cigarette rolling paper brand Rizla have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after three complaints.
The posters were part of a campaign highlighting Rizla’s introduction of new packaging and bore the text: "Fold. Tuck. Protect."
One showed two people dressed as a security safe standing in front of a wall with the word "SAFE" graffitied on it. The other showed two people with cardboard boxes over their heads with drawn-on facial expressions, standing in front of a wall that had the word "PROTECT" graffitied on it.
The ASA ruled that "many people would interpret the use of the word ‘safe’ in this context to suggest that smoking with Rizla rolling papers was safe, rather than solely as a reference to the packaging of the new product". Therefore, the ads breached the CAP Code for encouraging people to smoke.
In addition, the watchdog found that both posters breached the code on a second count of being likely to appeal to people under 18, due to the use of graffiti, playful props and use of "safe", which is a slang term associated with youth culture.
Rizla owner Imperial Tobacco had argued that the use of the word "safe" was intended to emphasise that Rizla papers were more likely to be kepy physically safe inside the new packaging and that graffiti was not likely to appeal to children.