A VOD and cinema ad for Bombay Sapphire Gin:
a. The VOD ad on All4, seen in August and September 2019, featured colourful abstract visuals and showed people using different colourful objects to create artworks. A voice-over stated, “Creativity can take us … anywhere. So, catch an idea and make it real. Start with nothing and make something. Hold on to your vision and discover the possibilities within. Bombay Sapphire. Stir creativity.” The last frame featured a still image containing a reflection of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in a mirror. Next to it was the Bombay Sapphire logo, and larger, blue cursive text underneath stated “Stir Creativity”.
b. The cinema ad, seen in September 2019, was the same as ad (a).
Three complainants challenged whether the ad implied that consumption of alcohol could enhance creativity.
Bacardi Global Brands Ltd (Bacardi) said that the ad was part of their global “Stir creativity” campaign and was intended to connect the brand’s identity with creativity and the arts. They said that the ad featured three professional artists demonstrating their specialisms and, because the artists were recognised professionals in their field, Bacardi considered that they would be seen to already be in possession of creative capabilities. Bacardi considered that neither the voice-over nor the visuals implied that alcohol was part of the artists’ creative processes or enhanced their creativity. They considered that there had been no suggestion that any of the artists had been drinking. Although the final frame of the ad featured an unopened bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, there were no drinks served and the ad did not feature the consumption of alcohol at any point.
Channel Four said that it was their standard operating procedure that all ads broadcast on All4, including this one, were sent to Clearcast for approval. The Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) said that they took the ‘creativity theme’ to mean the ability to create something through art, and they considered that this was reflected in the creative processes involved in the manufacturing of Bombay Sapphire Gin. They considered that the phrase ‘Stir creativity’, referred to the practice of stirring a gin with its mixer. The CAA had received no complaints regarding the ad.
Code rule 18.7 stated that marketing communications must not be portrayed as capable of changing mood or imply that it can enhance mental or physical capabilities; for example, by contributing to professional achievements. The ad showed a number of artists seeking inspiration, which was reflected in the voice-over and action. Once they had found their inspiration, the artists were shown creating art pieces. We considered viewers were likely to understand that those shown in the ad were already creatively minded. Moreover, none of the artists were shown to have consumed alcohol before starting, or during, their work on their pieces. Although a bottle of Bombay Sapphire was featured, it was in the final frame of the ad, separate from the scenes depicting the creative process, and was unopened and sealed. We therefore considered viewers were unlikely to infer that the consumption of alcohol had acted as a catalyst for the artists’ work or had aided its completion. In that context, we did not consider the term “Stir creativity” was likely to be interpreted as an explicit reference to stirring a gin with its mixer, but rather, as a reference to stirring creativity through art.
On this basis, we did not consider that the ad implied that the consumption of alcohol was capable of changing mood and could enhance mental or physical capabilities or creativity. We concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.7 but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.