On 31st May 2023, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published an upheld ruling against ads by an alcohol brand Litty Liquor, featuring a MOBO-award winning Brighton rapper ArrDee, in a decision touching on the alcohol, advertising and music sectors. 

The ads

The ads in questions were three Instagram posts published on Litty Liquor's page over a six day period in December 2022. 

The first ad was the below photograph where ArrDee holds up a bottle of Litty Liquor's 4Realli spiced rum with one hand and makes a hand gesture with the other. 

The second ad was the below photo where, in an ArrDee fashion, he is making the same hand gesture as he stands in front of a tower of 4Realli bottles.  

The third ad was a video which pictured the rapper in an empty nightclub, rejecting unknown rum brands and then working on a formula by mixing liquids and making notes. The video cut to 4Realli bottles and as ArrDee tried the drink, the scene shifted from an empty club to one filled with people and loud music. The final scene showed a box of 4Reallis and a text which said #GETLIT.

The issue

The issue was pretty simple. One person challenged whether the ads breached the CAP Code as 1) it featured someone who was, or appeared to be under 25 years of age, and 2) phrase #GETLIT encouraged excessive drinking and irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

Litty Liquor's response

The brand responded on both their own and ArrDee's behalf, saying that they were unaware of the requirements set by the CAP Code. They confirmed that ArrDee was under the age of 25 and apologised for his presence in the ad, accepting the breach. 

In relation to #GETLIT, Litty Liquor acknowledged how the phrase could be perceived as promoting excessive and irresponsible drinking, but that was not intention. Instead, they intended to promote their products in a responsible and appropriate manner. 

Litty Liquor removed the ads and committed to review their advertising policies in order to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. 


Despite Litty Liquor acknowledging their wrongdoing and removing the ad, the ASA upheld both complaints. Unsurprisingly, the ASA said that all three ads were in breach of CAP Code rule 18.16 on alcohol, as ArrDee was 20 years old when the ads appeared, he was the main focus and was shown consuming alcohol.

Secondly, the ASA considered the use of #GETLIT breached CAP Code rule 18.1. This is because the phrase was used around the creation and consumption of an alcoholic drink, which consumers would likely associate with consumption of alcohol and becoming intoxicated.


The key take-home here is that both brands and the influencer are responsible for adhering with the CAP Code. However, the lion's share of the responsibility in this instance lies with Litty Liquor, because the ads were posted on their Instagram page and we did not see any posts on ArrDee's page. Whilst the ASA did not investigate ArrDee himself, influencer conduct is high on the ASA's agenda.

Secondly, alcohol advertising is a highly regulated area. The CAP Code directs that people "shown drinking or playing a significant role must neither be or seem to be under 25." People under 25 may be shown "in the context of family celebrations, but must not obviously be drinking." ArrDee was 20 years old at the time, and even if he was not, he looks well under 25. Litty Liquor were simply unaware of this requirement, but this is not a defence. 

Considering ArrDee's age and the likely age of his fanbase, it is somewhat surprising that the ASA did not investigate whether the ad was also in breach of CAP Code rule 18.14, which requires that marketing communications "must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture". This is even more surprising when considering the use of #GETLIT. But the ASA said that "the word “lit”... had also become popular within the rap music scene to indicate being intoxicated... the term “lit” had also been used in rap music to mean that something was exciting, or of an excellent quality." 

Whilst ASA may not be spot on, their definition goes in the right direction, and when viewers look at how "cool" ArrDee becomes after nailing his 4Realli mixture (club turning "lit"), it is quite clear that by doing so, it encourages excessive drinking.