Ad description

A poster for beer showed two bottles of Heineken being clinked together and stated "POST-MATCH RITUAL".


The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because it implied that alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event.


Heineken UK Ltd said the ad was launched to support Heineken's continued sponsorship of the Heineken Cup rugby competition and was featured around the final of the tournament, held in Cardiff. The advertising appeared around Cardiff City Centre and on routes to the city. They stated the sporting tournament was a live event and watching live rugby was often followed by socialising with others who had attended the game. They believed that it was reasonable that this might entail the consumption of a beer at a local pub, bar or restaurant for adults, following the game and whatever the outcome.

They stated that the ad did not depict people or the consumption of alcohol and they considered it difficult to infer from the simple imagery that to have Heineken, or indeed any alcoholic drink, after a game was something that must be done to enjoy the sporting event. Rather they believed it was something that was sometimes done and enjoyed as one part of an overall match experience. They did not agree that any part of the ad depicted or implied that consuming Heineken was a key component of success or an essential action, in this case, at a big sporting event.

They believed that the reference to "ritual" was made in an informal or sociable sense, in the same way that some fans might wear their team shirt, have breakfast at a certain venue, listen to the same music on the way on the way to the game or have the same refreshments at half time. They did not consider that the word "ritual" was the same as "essential" or "necessary". Furthermore, they pointed out that the ad did not state or imply that the "post-match ritual" must be followed by a Heineken, or that a certain outcome would result.

They considered the ad implied that, for some, enjoying a cold beer after the game might be an activity undertaken after watching sport, either as a sociable conclusion or simply because a state of thirst had been reached. They noted that the Code did allow for the consumption of alcohol to be portrayed as sociable and thirst quenching, and considered that was how the ad communicated its message.

They stated they had not received any complaints about the ad, which had passed for use through their stringent internal policy, and pointed out that reference was made in the ad to the Drink Aware campaign.

Exterion Media stated that the ad campaign consisted of images and wording designed to connect to the rugby match being held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. They reiterated that the ad contained the Drink Aware logo and website details and stated that the image in the ad had been accepted as it seemed to be a representation of the tradition of clinking glasses together after an event or at a celebration, and not necessarily as an encouragement to do so by drinking alcohol. They said they had not received any complaints during or following the campaign, which had consisted of around 80 sites over a two-week period.


Not upheld

The ASA noted that the CAP Code prohibited ads from implying that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event, but that the consumption of alcohol may be portrayed as sociable or thirst-quenching.

We considered that consumers would understand the ad to be making reference to the social element of a sporting event, where socialising after a match was commonplace and could constitute a regular and integral part of the sporting event for many attendees. We acknowledged that the ad suggested that having a bottle of Heineken could be a part of socialising after a match, but did not consider that it placed Heineken or alcohol as the key component of the success of that event, or that a social post-match even would only take place in order to consume an alcoholic drink such as a Heineken beer.

We considered that the image of the two beers clinking and the use of the term "ritual" were likely to be understood as a reference to the commonplace nature of socialising after a match, and that Heineken was featured in the context of that social event. We did not consider that the ad's image or the term "ritual", in the context in which it appeared, would be understood to refer to a mandatory practice driven primarily by the consumption of alcohol, where alcohol was the key component of the success of that social event.

We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible and was not in breach of the Code.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.  and  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.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

1.3     18.3    

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