Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, of which two were Not upheld and one was Upheld.
A tweet from the Carlsberg UK Twitter account and a video ad on Trade Point's YouTube page:
a. The tweet, dated 10 June 2016, showed a screen split diagonally across. One side showed a teapot being carried towards an afternoon tea table scene where two women were sitting; the other showed a glass of Carlsberg being carried towards a group of men who appeared to be standing watching sport together. A red triangle with the text "OFF" appeared on the afternoon tea side of the screen, while a green triangle with the text "ON" appeared on the other side, against the group of men. Text above the screen stated "Cheers to the #Queenat90! Extended pub opening hours this weekend = time to substitute that brew for this brew". The logo for the UEFA European Championships 2016 (the Euros) appeared at the bottom.
b. The video, seen on 18 June 2016, featured football manager Stuart Pearce and a delivery driver arriving at a building site with a large crate of Carlsberg for the builders on the site. An informal football game took place, after which workers on the site were shown carrying away one pack of Carlsberg each on their shoulders. On-screen text stating "BULK BEER" appeared twice during the ad. Further on-screen text at the end of the ad stated "If Carlsberg did substitutions".
Alcohol Concern challenged whether:
1. ads (a) and (b) were irresponsible, because they encouraged excessive drinking;
2. ad (b) breached the Code, because it implied that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event; and
3. ad (b) breached the Code, because it showed a large quantity of alcohol being delivered to a building site and linked alcohol with the use of potentially dangerous machinery.
1. On ad (a), Carlsberg said celebrations for the Queen's 90th birthday were due to take place on the same day as England's first group stage match against Russia in the Euros. They said the tweet made a statement of fact that licensed premises were operating with extended opening hours on 10 June for the Queen's birthday. They did not believe it could be irresponsible or encourage excessive consumption to tell the public about those extended hours. They believed the ad encouraged people to find the time to support England by watching the football game, in addition to hosting a tea party, but that there was no direct or implied suggestion that extended pub opening hours were a reason to consume alcohol excessively. They did not believe the ad would be seen as referring to the consumption of tea versus the consumption of lager, but believed that, if it was, a single pint of Carlsberg against a whole pot of tea suggested moderate, slow consumption. They said the ad did not show consumption of alcohol and none of the people watching the football match were shown holding alcoholic drinks.
On ad (b), Carlsberg said the packs of Carlsberg were the same as the packs purchased by consumers in store. They said the crate of Carlsberg delivered to the site was not intended only for the workers shown and was later shared out among the agency staff, the production team and other Trade Point workers. They said the workers were shown carrying one pack each and that there were references in the ad to "the summer" and the Euros, which took place over a month. They believed those references suggested the alcohol should be consumed over a prolonged period of time. They said watching football was often something done as a group, in which case the alcohol was likely to be shared between those present. They said "bulk" and "beer" were not used as a single, combined phrase but with substitution arrows, which they believed were well-recognised, red for bulk "going off" and green for beer "coming on", and appeared after the statement "If Carlsberg did substitutions". They said building materials supplied to building sites were commonly referred to as "bulk" in the building trade and that trade customers would understand that that was the intended meaning. Carlsberg did not believe it was clear how many cases of beer were delivered in the crate or how many workers were present on the site, other than that it was a large number of workers. They believed the conclusion drawn by tradespeople viewing the ad was that each worker left the site with one, sealed case of Carlsberg.
On ad (b), B&Q t/a Trade Point said no one featured in the ad was shown consuming alcohol. They believed there was no suggestion that anyone had consumed, or would consume, alcohol. They believed the ad focused on the workers' excitement at meeting and playing football with Stuart Pearce and with watching the Euros. They said the packs of Carlsberg were not shown while the workers were playing football and were carried unopened in quantities that an individual customer would purchase at a supermarket. They believed the overall message of the ad was that the Carlsberg was to be shared while watching the Euros.
On ad (b) in relation to all three points, YouTube said the ad did not violate the YouTube guidelines which applied to user-uploaded video content.
2. Carlsberg believed there was no reference in the ad to a particular social event and that, while some people might enjoy alcohol while they watched a football game, the ad did not suggest that it was a key component to watching football or that it was key to the wider success of a sporting event. They believed the extent of the link with a sporting occasion was limited to Stuart Pearce's references to Carlsberg supporting England in the Euros, to the lager being "a present" from Carlsberg and the hope expressed that Trade Point workers would support England.
Trade Point said no one featured in the ad was shown consuming alcohol. They believed the excitement in the ad resulted from Stuart Pearce's surprise visit and playing football with him.
3. Carlsberg did not believe it was irresponsible in and of itself to use a building site as a location for the ad. They also did not believe the ad linked alcohol with the use of dangerous machinery. They believed it was clear that the building site was used to receiving bulk orders and that it was therefore not unwise or unsafe to deliver a crate of beer to the site. They said the ad showed no further use of machinery after the beer was delivered and they believed it was clear that the workers were shown leaving the site with their packs of Carlsberg unopened. They believed there was no suggestion that Carlsberg was opened or consumed on site or that any work continued after the delivery was made.
Trade Point said no one was shown consuming alcohol or using machinery, and that the mere presence of Carlsberg at the building site did not irresponsibly link alcohol with a location in which drinking would be unsafe or unwise. They also believed it was important to see the ad in the context of the line "If Carlsberg did substitutions", which they believed made it clear that the substitution of beer and a visit by Stuart Pearce for bulk construction materials was completely fanciful.
1. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged that the men shown in ad (a) appeared to be watching sport together in a pub setting but that none were shown holding or consuming drinks and that the image contained only one pint of beer, albeit in the foreground. We considered that the primary message in the ad was about extended pub opening hours and while the tweet made readers aware that they would be able to go to the pub at times when it would not ordinarily be possible, we did not think it would be seen as an encouragement to drink to excess. We therefore considered that the ad was not irresponsible.
Showing a large wooden crate being delivered to a building site by crane and using the word "BULK" twice during ad (b) created the impression that a large quantity of Carlsberg was being supplied to the site. It was not clear just how many cases of Carlsberg were delivered or how many workers were present, but the closing scenes implied that each worker had received only one case. We acknowledged that no one was shown drinking alcohol and, while the ad was not explicit regarding the manner in which the Carlsberg would be consumed, the ad made reference to "the summer" and the Euros, which took place over a month. We considered the impression was that the alcohol was to be taken away from the site and consumed over a period of time.
We again concluded that the overall impression was one that was unlikely to encourage excessive drinking, and that ad (b) was therefore not irresponsible.
On this point we investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We acknowledged that the setting of the ad was a working building site rather than a bar or other social venue. Nevertheless, the ad showed a delivery of alcohol after which the building site became the scene of a light-hearted gathering which we considered was, in that sense, a social event. The workers were shown enjoying meeting Stuart Pearce, their free delivery of Carlsberg and being able to stop work to play football.
We noted that rule 18.3 18.3 Marketing communications must not imply that drinking alcohol is a key component of the success of a personal relationship or social event. The consumption of alcohol may be portrayed as sociable or thirst-quenching. stated that ads "must not imply that drinking alcohol is a key component of the success of a personal relationship or social event". Notwithstanding the concerns expressed about ad (b) in point 1 above, we acknowledged that, while the workers appeared pleased to be receiving Carlsberg to carry away, no one was shown consuming it, and we considered the ad therefore did not imply that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of the particular event. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
On this point we investigated ad (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.3 18.3 Marketing communications must not imply that drinking alcohol is a key component of the success of a personal relationship or social event. The consumption of alcohol may be portrayed as sociable or thirst-quenching. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
We considered that the delivery of a large crate of Carlsberg which was then distributed among the workers, even though none was shown to be opened and drunk, linked alcohol with a building site. Regardless of the possible further link with potentially dangerous machinery, we considered that a building site would be an unsafe and unwise location in which to consume alcohol. Because the ad linked alcohol with that location, we concluded that it breached the Code.
On this point ad (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule
Marketing communications must not link alcohol with activities or locations in which drinking would be unsafe or unwise.
Marketing communications must not link alcohol with the use of potentially dangerous machinery or driving. Marketing communications may feature sporting and other physical activities (subject to other rules in this section; for example, appeal to under-18s or link with daring or aggression) but must not imply that those activities have been undertaken after the consumption of alcohol. (Alcohol).
Ad (b) must not appear again in its current form. We told Carlsberg UK Ltd and Trade Point to ensure their ads did not link alcohol with locations in which drinking would be unsafe or unwise.