A picture posted by Captain Morgan on their Facebook page showed the pirate Captain Morgan raising a glass and cheering whilst surrounded by his crew. Text at top of the image stated "WEDNESDAY. I'M DECLARING WAR ON MID-WEEK BOREDOM".
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because it implied that alcohol could overcome boredom and was capable of changing mood.
Diageo Great Britain Ltd stated that the rationale behind the ad was to call consumers to take a break from their normal weekday routine and spend time with friends mid-week rather than wait for the weekend. They said the ad was not a call to drink as there was no mention of alcohol consumption, and the ad did not feature the product or servings of alcohol prominently. The central image was the Captain surrounded by, and enjoying time spent with, his crewmates. They acknowledged that the Captain and crew had raised their glasses in celebration, but said that was a peripheral part of the image. They also highlighted that the ad was written in the same tone as a series of other regular posts on the Captain Morgan Facebook page which also promoted meeting with friends or the Wednesday mid-week milestone, including one that stated "Gather your crew" and another which stated "Navigate through hump day and set your sights on the weekend!". In that context they said consumers viewing the ad would understand that the Captain and crew were celebrating the end of mid-week boredom, achieved through coming together, and not that alcohol consumption was the means to that end. Diageo also highlighted that the ad was one of a series of posts during the course of the week, which included two responsible drinking posts.
Facebook stated that the ad did not violate any of their internal policies and was appropriately age-gated. They had not received any complaints directly. They also said under their Terms, administrators were required to ensure their pages complied with all applicable laws, statutes and regulations.
The ASA noted that the ad showed the Captain, who was cheering and leading a toast, surrounded by his crewmates, who were also raising their glasses. We understood that the ad had been published on a Wednesday, and that the text referred to putting an end to "mid-week boredom". We considered that most consumers, viewing the image and text together, particularly in the context of the Captain Morgan Facebook page, would interpret the ad to mean that the Captain was alleviating his boredom by drinking Captain Morgan with friends. Whilst we acknowledged that the page included other posts related to meeting with friends or the "mid-week" milestone, as those posts did not appear regularly and were not directly linked to the ad, we considered that consumers were unlikely to view them as related or as part of a series. Therefore, we considered that their presence was unlikely to change a consumer's impression of the ad in question. Similarly, we considered that the presence of "drink responsibly" posts did not undermine the fact that the ad, although not expressly encouraging excessive drinking, implied that the Captain had sought alcohol to improve his mood. Because of that, we concluded that the ad implied that alcohol could overcome boredom and was capable of changing mood, and was therefore in breach of the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising), 18.6 18.6 Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol might be indispensable or take priority in life or that drinking alcohol can overcome boredom, loneliness or other problems. and 18.7 18.7 Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol has therapeutic qualities. Alcohol must not be portrayed as capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour or as a source of nourishment. Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol can enhance mental or physical capabilities; for example, by contributing to professional or sporting achievements. (Alcohol).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Diageo Great Britain Ltd to ensure they did not state or imply that alcohol could overcome boredom or was capable of changing mood in future.