Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Not upheld.
A Youtube ad for Kronenbourg, seen on 18 June 2016, featured Eric Cantona playing a fictional character who, with two dogs who wore barrels containing Kronenbourg around their necks, said delivered Kronenbourg to the "deserving". In other words, to people who had experienced unfortunate mishaps or who had enjoyed improbable success. The character stated "Here in Alsace, live the most intelligent dogs in the world, the Alsace-tians. They deliver Kronenbourg to the deserving". In one scenario, a monk who had been ringing church bells had become entangled in the ropes and the dogs set him free. Afterwards he was given a pint of Kronenbourg. In another scenario, a local postman had fallen off his bike into a snowdrift and was trapped in the snow. The dogs dug him out of the snow and he was then seen sitting on a rock shivering holding a pint of Kronenbourg. In a third scenario, an actor was on stage playing a dramatic suicide scene and Eric Cantona's character in the audience was seen rolling his eyes and sighing, as though he disliked the actor's performance. Once the performance was over, the actor received a standing ovation from the rest of the audience and the Alsace-tian dogs delivered his pint of Kronenbourg in recognition of his success. In the final scene, Eric Cantona's character stated "Man's best friend delivering one of man's greatest achievements. A taste suprême".
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) challenged whether the ad implied that alcohol:
1. could enhance confidence; and
2. had therapeutic qualities, and was capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour.
1. Heineken UK Ltd understood that the complainant's concerns about alcohol enhancing confidence were in relation to the scene with the actor. They pointed out that it was not until the end of the actor's performance, after he had given his final bow and the audience had already reacted to his performance with spontaneous 'whoops', cheers and a standing ovation, that Eric Cantona's character summoned the ‘Alsace-tians’ who burst onto the stage to deliver a beer to the actor, as a reward for his acting achievements. They believed that at no point did the scene imply or directly show that the actor had consumed alcohol prior to his performance and so it was not possible to conclude that his performance was affected in any way by the consumption of alcohol. They pointed out that the scene did not show a comparative performance from the same actor after having consumed alcohol, and so there was also no implication that his confidence, popularity or professional achievement would be enhanced compared to his previous performance.
2. Heineken UK understood the complainant's other concerns were in relation to the scenes featuring the monk and the postman. They believed the situations shown were exaggerated, humorous and farcical, and the impression given was that in the fantastical and legendary world of Alsace, these were everyday occurrences. They pointed out that neither character was hurt by his mishap and said that after releasing the monk from the ropes and digging the postman from the snow, the dogs delivered a Kronenbourg to those villagers, who after their unlikely ordeals were "deserving" of a refreshing “Taste Suprême” in recognition of their situation.
Heineken pointed out that the scenarios had been resolved by the time the beer was consumed and the scenes ended after the characters had taken a sip of Kronenbourg. They believed that no continued physical or emotional uplift was shown which could be attributed to the effect of the beer, and that it was not implied through the visuals or narrative that Kronenbourg had any therapeutic or restorative properties. They believed the ad implied that the characters were grateful for the unexpected offer of a refreshing and locally popular beer.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the actor did not receive or consume alcohol before or during his performance, and it was only after he had finished his final scene, and had taken a bow, that the Alsace-tian dogs ran onto the stage and delivered a glass of Kronenbourg. We also noted that the audience reacted positively to his performance before the dogs appeared on stage with the beer. We therefore considered that the ad did not imply that it was the Kronenbourg that had given him confidence in the later part of his performance, or that it had enhanced his popularity with the audience, and we concluded that it did not breach the Code.
On that point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.2 18.2 Marketing communications must not claim or imply that alcohol can enhance confidence or popularity. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We noted that in both scenarios, the dogs rescued the trapped villagers as soon as they appeared on the scene and that after they had been released, they were given a Kronenbourg. We noted that the monk was seen smiling as he brought the glass to his mouth and closed his eyes as he took a sip of the beer. We noted that the postman was shivering as he brought the glass to his mouth and, after taking a sip, he waved to Eric Cantona as a gesture of gratitude.
We considered that, although the men appeared pleased, the situations portrayed implied that any improvement in their mood was due to their relief at having been rescued from unpleasant situations, coupled with their gratitude at having received an unexpected gift of a free beer. We considered that because the beer was consumed at the very end of the scenes after the rescues had taken place, there was no suggestion that it was the consumption of the beer, rather than the act of being rescued, that had improved their mood. We also considered, for the same reason, that there was no suggestion that the beer had therapeutic properties that had helped the villagers either get out of or recover from their ordeals.
In the case of the postman, we noted he was still shivering after having taken a sip of the beer, although slightly less markedly, but we attributed that to him warming up naturally as a result of no longer being in the mound of snow, rather than having taken a small sip of beer. We considered therefore the ad did not suggest it was the consumption of beer that had improved his physical condition.
For those reasons, we concluded that the ad did not imply that alcohol had therapeutic properties, or was capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour.
On that point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 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), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.