Ad description

A TV ad for Bacardi, seen on 7 October 2018, began with a person, shown from the knees down, leaping off a sofa, picking up a bottle of Bacardi and dancing out of the door. That was followed by a succession of scenes of different people dancing through a barbershop, in a laundrette and on a beach before meeting outside a bar and dancing inside with the Bacardi. The opening scene appeared to be set during daylight hours, the time of day was not obvious during the scenes in the barbershop and launderette; the sun was going down in the scene on the beach; and it was night during the scenes at the bar. The scene in the barbershop featured a person sat down holding what appeared to be a glass of Bacardi and Coke.


The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it encouraged immoderate drinking by implying that drinking should take place before and throughout a night out.


Bacardi-Martini Ltd (Bacardi) said that the first scene of the ad, featuring 'Character 1', featured a sealed bottle of Bacardi rum and that the bottle held by Character 1 remained sealed throughout the ad. Character 1 and four other Characters shown in the ad's scenes did not consume alcohol. Bacardi said that the narrative in the ad was of Character 1 taking the sealed bottle of rum to a party having collected their friends, Characters 2-4, on the way. Bacardi said that there was no suggested or implied drinking in the ad and that the characters did not dance in a way that indicated they had been drinking. Bacardi also pointed out that there were no shots of alcohol being poured, served or drunk in the ad.

Clearcast said that the person with a drink in the barber shop was not part of the main group of Characters in the ad. They questioned whether one bottle of rum shared between five people in contribution to a party could be seen as 'immoderate' drinking. They also said that as the bottle was carried in a light-hearted manner, with no serving involved, they did not think that the handling of the alcohol could be described as 'irresponsible'.


Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad followed a cast of four characters in a range of different scenarios including a barbershop, a beach and a laundrette, and showed the first character – Character 1 – collecting these friends as they danced through the ad, where they finally converged on a lively bar. Although the ad was highly stylised, we considered viewers would recognise that it told the story of the build up to a night out.

We noted that a sealed bottle of Bacardi rum was shown on several occasions but none of the characters in the ad were shown actually serving or drinking the rum. Although one character was shown with what appeared to be a glass of Bacardi and Coke in the barbershop scene, this person was not part of the main group and was not shown taking a drink. We considered that although there was a transition from day to night during the ad, the fact that the bottle of rum was sealed and remained unopened throughout meant that there was no suggested or implied consumption of the alcohol before the group reached the bar. The implication was that the group would drink some of the alcohol during their night out, but we noted that none of the characters shown in the ad seemed to be dancing, moving, or otherwise interacting with each other in a way suggestive of intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption at any point, including in the final scenes.

For those reasons we concluded that the ad did not encourage immoderate drinking and was not irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules  19.2 19.2 Advertisements must not feature, imply, condone or encourage irresponsible or immoderate drinking. That applies to both the amount of drink and the way drinking is portrayed.
References to, or suggestions of, buying repeat rounds of alcoholic drinks are not acceptable. That does not prevent, for example, someone buying a drink for each member of a group. It does, however, prevent any suggestion that other members of the group will buy a round.
 and  19.12 19.12 Advertisements must not feature alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly.  (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.


19.12     19.2    

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