Rita Sahatçiu Ora, an English singer, songwriter and actress, has been slammed for promoting alcohol on Instagram to her young fan base.
In a post, the Hot Right Now singer, 28, declared tequila brand Prospero ‘highlights strong independent women.’
But this invoked the ire of campaigners who highlighted Rita’s young social media following.
The Daily Mail reports that experts are also calling for alcohol businesses to face court action for reportedly flouting strict laws relating to alcohol advertising. Charities have backed the move, claiming celebrities risk ‘glamourising’ underage drinking.
Amy Powell, client relationships manager at marketing compliance consultancy PromoVeritas, said: “The thing that alarms me is that Rita Ora has an audience of 14+. And her image has a bottle of Tequila right there on her Instagram. Like I said to brands four years ago, regulators are ready and prepared to go to court in cases like this.”
She added that any alcohol adverts that seek to glamourise its therapeutic qualities will ‘pretty much always break the rules.’
Powell’s comments was backed by activists who said there needed to be greater scrutiny applied to alcohol advertising.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines, people featured in alcohol ads should be and look at least 25 years old.
Rita’s full Instagram post read: ‘Swipe up in story to read my @forbes exclusive!! ‘I’m sooooo excited I’ve been working on this, one of my many new babies for nearly a year now!! ‘I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with amazing brands and each time I learn something new about the business side of the industry. With this partnership I wanted push myself to take on a new role.
‘Being Chief Creative Partner and shareholder with @prosperotequila has allowed me to invest my time and energy in a my new venture, which at its core highlights strong independent women.
‘Working with Stella and visiting the distillery was an amazing experience and affirmed my desire to take on this position within the company.
‘I can’t wait to toast this new partnership with my family, friends, and fans and finally drink my own draaaaank! Thank you @prosperotequila £VivaPróspero £VivaconRita.’
Rita is not the first celebrity to use Instagram to promote alcohol. David Beckham has used the site to plug his sponsorship deal with Haig Whiskey.
In glossy promo shots labelled ‘paid partnership with’ he calls himself a ‘Haig club man.’
Nicki Minaj also takes to Instagram to promote her MYX fusions red wine blend.
It is understood the ASA is not investigating any alcohol sponsorship deals on Instagram currently, although they did say they were keeping a close eye on the situation.
ASA spokesman Matt Wilson explained: ‘From our perspective, there’s no move or force towards tighter regulation.
‘Our very strict alcohol advertising rules already apply across media and including social media space and posts by influencers.
‘We always monitor trends and if there’s issues that are cropping up in that area then we’ll be very quick to take action and there will be an emphasis placed on the brands themselves and partnerships with celebrities.
‘Alcohol ads can’t be targeted at under 18s and if somebody’s got a big follower base that is under 18 then of course it is inappropriate for them to promote alcohol brands.
‘Or if an influencer is or appears to be under 25 they are not able to advertise alcohol brands.
‘There are already very strict rules in place but we’re monitoring the situation and if there’s grounds for us to act we will.’
It comes after the ASA recently banned an Instagram ad for Macallan whiskey which seemed to glorify alcohol-induced reckless behaviour.