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Vaping advert banned over Mo Farah confusion

Mo Farah Image copyright Getty Images

A vaping advert has been banned for suggesting that Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah had endorsed the product.

It featured a male model with a bald head and thick eyebrows, with the strapline "Mo's mad for menthol".

Sir Mo had already complained on Twitter, saying "You may have seen this ad and think it's me... I have not endorsed this product".

The advertising regulator said the advert gave the "misleading impression" the athlete had given his backing.

"His [the model's] bald head and eyebrow shape were reminiscent of Sir Mo's.

"The first name Mo was very common, but we considered that Sir Mo Farah was one of the most recognisable and well-known figures in the UK to go by that name," the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said in a statement.

It said three people had complained, saying the man looked similar to athlete Sir Mo.

Image copyright Twitter

The campaign for vaping firm Diamond Mist's liquid products was displayed on London buses in April and May.

Diamond Mist argued that other adverts in the campaign used several other names, such as Claire, Lucy and Wang, and said that the skin tone of the model in the adverts was not similar to that of Sir Mo.

It said the campaign was created to connect a range of personal names to the various e-liquid flavours it sold by using alliteration and a strong colour palette.

But the ASA said the risk was consumers would see the advert in isolation "and would not necessarily be aware of that context."

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