Ad description

A TV ad for Strongbow cider, seen on 29 September 2018, showed a group of friends attending a festival over several days. One scene showed a member of the group kicking a football acrobatically. The scene was immediately repeated and framed as if it were being recorded on a phone before the football player drank from a Strongbow can. One scene showed a new member of the group being greeted enthusiastically and given a pint of Strongbow, and the members of the group danced to the festival music. On-screen text stated “LET’S OWN IT”, “OWN THE JOURNEY”, “OWN THE DESTINATION”, “OWN [three fire emojis]”, “OWN ICE COLD”, “OWN TURNING UP”, “OWN TURNING IT ON”, “OWN WHATEVER WHEREVER WHENEVER”, “FROM THE FIRST SIP”, and “TO THE LAST DROP”.


The complainant challenged whether the ad implied that alcohol could contribute to an individual’s popularity or confidence and enhance personal qualities.


HP Bulmer Ltd said that in the scene in which the man kicked the football acrobatically, Strongbow was consumed after the event and there was therefore no implication the alcohol contributed to his ability to kick the ball. In the scene in which the second man arrived at the festival and was welcomed and hugged by friends, he was handed a pint of Strongbow but was not seen drinking it before the ad cut to another scene. They said once again Strongbow was consumed after the event and there was no implication that it contributed to his popularity. They also pointed out that no alcohol featured in the various scenes of the friends dancing.

Clearcast said that the first scene in which Strongbow appeared depicted the group of friends in the evening having arrived at the festival and at the point of setting up camp, sat together talking and laughing. They said the mood was joyous and one individual toasted the group in celebration. However, she was not seen to have enhanced qualities or to have become more popular because of the presence of Strongbow. They said the next scene took place the day after, with five people playing football. The group could be heard to cheer as they were impressed by the acrobatic kick, but no alcohol had been drunk in that scene, so the player's ability had not been enhanced, nor was he more popular as a result of drinking alcohol.

Clearcast said a late arrival to the group appeared in a later scene and the friends celebrated his arrival and handed him a pint of Strongbow to welcome him. The mood of the group was elevated as a result of his arrival. This did not change when he was handed the drink and he was not seen to have become more popular or in any way enhanced because of the presence or consumption of Strongbow.


Not upheld

The ASA considered that the ad depicted a number of scenarios that viewers would readily associate with being at a music festival, and that the scenes were laid out in a sequence that suggested the passage of time over a festival weekend. This began with the group of friends arriving, accompanied by the on-screen text “own the journey”, and was followed immediately by the group – some of whom were holding cans of Strongbow – sitting at night in the camp site while the text “own the destination” appeared on-screen. Each subsequent scene was accompanied with text that referenced “owning” some aspect of the weekend; some of those scenes included people holding or drinking alcohol while others did not. We considered there was no inherent link between the expression “own it” and Strongbow or the drinking of alcohol generally, and that while drinking Strongbow was part of the festival experience for the group featured in the ad, overall it was not presented as central to the behaviour or mood of the group.

We noted that the football player did not receive or consume alcohol before or during the game and it was only after he had finished playing that he reached into an ice bucket to pick out and drink from a can of Strongbow. We considered, consequently, that the enthusiastic cheers from the audience around the festival campsite and the recording of the incident had not been influenced by the consumption of alcohol and so did not imply that his popularity or his ability to acrobatically kick the ball had been enhanced by drinking.

The next scene showed a group of friends sat around a bench chatting and drinking Strongbow. When the new member of the group arrived, the group greeted him with loud cheers before handing him a pint of cider. The group’s joyful reaction resulted from the man’s arrival and it was clear from that reaction and the man’s own exuberant cheer that he was a popular and confident character within the group. We therefore considered that there was no implication that alcohol had contributed to his popularity or confidence.

The group was then seen dancing to music in a way that typified the enjoyment of a group of friends at a festival. No alcohol was consumed in that scene, and although a later scene showed a man taking the first sip of a pint of Strongbow and others with the drink in their possession, those scenes did not depict any behaviour which implied that alcohol was a contributing factor to any of the individuals’ popularity or confidence, nor that it enhanced their personal qualities.

We considered that the visuals in combination with the variations on the “own it” text depicted people in some situations which demonstrated their popularity, confidence and personal qualities, but did not imply that Strongbow contributed to those characteristics. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule  19.3 19.3 Advertisements must neither imply that alcohol can contribute to an individual's popularity or confidence nor imply that alcohol can enhance personal qualities
 (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.



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