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Elf Bar Ad Breaks Code

The Advertising Standards Authority has found against Elf Bar, declaring that a TikTok advert had breached regulations following a complaint lodged by Imperial Tobacco

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found against Elf Bar, declaring that a TikTok advert had breached regulations following a complaint lodged by Imperial Tobacco. CAP Code rule 22.12 states that, except for media targeted exclusively to the trade, “marketing communications with the direct or indirect effect of promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components which are not licensed as medicines are not permitted in online and some other forms of electronic media.”

The ASA said: “A TikTok post from the account @Panaxhe_ promoting Elf Bar, an electronic cigarette brand, posted on 18 May 2022, featured scenes of a young man going through his day, which included referring to and smoking Elf Bar vapes, showing the product, and stating some Elf Bar brand flavours such as ‘blueberry’ and ‘kiwi passionfruit’.

He had written in a notebook ‘Why I Love My ELF BAR Rechargeable Disposable Pods’. On-screen text stated ‘RICH FLAVOUR’ and ‘Rechargeable pods save a lot of money’ with a heart eyes face emoji.

“Text underneath the video stated ‘Best vapes out there, don’t let the fiends get to it @elfbar_official_global #ELFA #ElfaEcoChoice # SavingMoney #ad Paid partnership’.”

The advert was brought to the attention of the ASA by tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco. It  contested that the post breached the Code by promoting unlicensed, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components on TikTok.

Elf Bar said they had contacted the content creator and TikTok and asked them to remove the post. They said they had found the video content was inappropriate, did not comply with the brand’s content guidelines, and they believed it did not comply with the Code. They said they monitored and reviewed video content about Elf Bar on online platforms to ensure it met guidelines and regulations.

Elf Bar said it, “would improve internal review and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that all online content complied with regulatory requirements.”

Elf Bar has added that because of the complaint, they have stopped all TikTok content and communications marketing in the UK.

The disposable vape company says that an investigation is underway as they are unsure how the advert came to be produced by its outsourced marketing operations.

ASA commented: “They said that their outsourced marketing provider had released the video without conducting the necessary checks with Elf Bar. Elf Bar recognised that advertising and marketing content promoting their products produced by third parties was their responsibility. They would review and address their monitoring processes for future video content to ensure compliance with UK laws and regulations.”

The ASA have ruled that the advert must not appear again in the form complained about.

It concluded: “We told Green Fun Alliance Ltd t/a Elf Bar that marketing communications with the direct or indirect effect of promoting nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and their components which were not licensed as medicines should not be made from a public TikTok account.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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