A TV ad for cider featured three situations. In one scenario, a man was shown at the end of a game of snooker taking a shot on the black.. When going to take the shot, the white ball turned into an egg before the snooker table then split apart to show fiery chasms making that shot seemingly impossible. In the second scenario, a groom was shown about to do a speech at his wedding. He looked visibly nervous and when he looked down at his notes, the words fell off the page like dust and, when he looked up again, the guests were replaced with high court judges. The final scenario featured a football match which showed a seemingly impossible shot on a goal filled with bricks and a goal keeper with giant gloves. The ad culminated in the scenarios being concluded with the snooker shot being taken and won, the speech being delivery to applause and the goal being scored. The ad ended on the wedding scenario with the groom being congratulated by his ushers and a cheering crowd, and the groom toasting himself with a pint of Strongbow. The final frame of the ad featured an image of the product and text stating "EARN IT".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because they believed it implied that drinking alcohol could be used to overcome problems, enhance personal qualities and improve performance.
Heineken UK Ltd said the ad featured vignettes of three friends who faced every day challenges and that the self-imposed pressures in their minds developed into a humorous and an obviously fantastical nature. They said the ad showed each of the men finding the inner strength to push on to complete their chosen task as the scenes snapped back to reality. They said the men were then shown raising a pint of Strongbow in celebration to each other as a reward, after their tasks had been completed. They said the closing scenes of celebration were all in scenarios where it would be acceptable, and not unusual, to consume alcohol.
They said the ads only presented Strongbow as a reward for completing the featured task and believed there was no suggestion that the characters had consumed alcohol beforehand or that their motivation was anything other than triumph over their respective challenges. They believed this was further supported by the "EARN IT" strapline at the end of the ad.
They believed that the ad did not link alcohol to the way in which the characters acted and did not influence their performance, courage or prowess. They said the men, who were clearly over 25, were shown to overcome challenges through their own skills and inner resolve, which was clearly shown by shifting the imagery back from their visualisation of the challenge to reality when they acted with resolve and skill. They believed there was no suggestion that alcohol was involved in this process and said that the Strongbow was only featured at the end of the ad.
Clearcast said the ad showed various people performing activities that carried with them an element of pressure to succeed such as potting a snooker ball, taking a penalty kick or making a speech at a wedding. They said the characters were shown to be successful despite the pressure. They said that having succeeded, they were all seen to celebrate with a pint of Strongbow with the words "Earn It" on the screen. They believed there was nothing in the ad to support the complainant's view that the ad implied that alcohol could help people overcome problems, enhance personal qualities or improve performance and that even without considering the "Earn It" tagline at the end of the ad, the ad showed people striving to succeed under pressure and then, all by themselves and without the help of anyone, or anything, succeeding in their tasks. They said alcohol played no part in their success (neither the drinking of it nor the anticipation of it) and that the inclusion of the words "Earn it", made clear that alcohol was merely there to celebrate success achieved on their own terms. They believed that ad did not imply that alcohol was there to facilitate success, nor solve problems and that it did not suggest that it turned the drinker into a better person, made them perform better or suggest that drink should be the first option if you've got something tricky to do.
The ASA noted the ad showed the three characters overcoming their concerns about the social and sports situations they were in and succeeding in their tasks by potting the black, scoring from a penalty kick and successfully delivering a speech at a wedding. No alcohol was shown to be consumed by the main characters (or any other characters in the scenes) until the final scene at the wedding which showed two of the male characters who overcame the challenges in the previous scenes raising a pint to the speech giver, who in turn raised a pint to them.
We considered that although the ad suggested that the alcoholic drink had been 'earned' by three characters having achieved their goals, the ad did not show alcohol as the intended reward for success nor show that the anticipation of that reward was the purpose of carrying out or succeeding in the featured tasks. Furthermore, we noted when the alcohol was consumed it was not shown to be consumed in excess. We therefore considered that the ad did not imply that alcohol could be used to help overcome problems or that it could enhance personal qualities or ensure success. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Social responsibility), 19.7 19.7 Advertisements must not portray alcohol as indispensable or as taking priority in life. Advertisements must not imply that drinking can overcome problems or that regular solitary drinking is acceptable and 19.8 19.8 Advertisements 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. Although they may refer to refreshment, advertisements must not imply that alcohol can improve any type of performance. (Alcohol) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.