Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, of which two were Not upheld and one was Upheld.
A TV ad, promoting Jägermeister, showed a group of male friends leaving for a road trip in the early hours of the morning. The men were shown travelling through snowy, mountainous terrain in a truck, and one scene showed them getting out of the truck to push it through a snow drift. The men were later shown carrying surf boards and changing into wetsuits before jumping into the ocean. They were then shown surfing on large waves and, as they returned to shore, patting each other on the back and congratulating one another. Later, in the evening, they were shown in a log cabin at a bar, where they each received a shot of Jägermeister in a frozen glass and were shown raising their glasses to one another whilst the voice-over stated, "Jägermeister. It runs deep".
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because it:
1. linked alcohol with tough, daring behaviour;
2. encouraged irresponsible and immoderate drinking; and
3. implied that alcohol was key to the social success of the occasion.
1. Mast-Jaegermeister UK Ltd (Jaegermeister) stated that the ad depicted a group of friends travelling to, and then surfing in, the sea in Iceland. They said the actors were chosen as they looked like experienced ‘outdoor’ men with the stamina for such an expedition. They highlighted that the men were shown with a large amount of equipment, and when surfing, clearly demonstrated a high level of skill, so their actions were in no way irresponsible. They said millions of people in locations such as Iceland, North America and Northern Europe regularly drove in icy conditions, and surfing was a common sport that was particularly popular in Iceland, therefore the expedition was not exceptional, was not dangerous or risky and was in no way “tough” or “daring”.
Jaegermeister also highlighted that there were no brand references, and the men were not shown consuming alcohol, at any point before they started surfing, and that any association between the drink or the brand and the surfing scenes had been avoided. The brand only appeared at the very end of the ad, in the evening post-surfing, when the men were shown relaxing together and each drinking one shot of Jägermeister. They said the men were clearly in a different place, at a different time, having changed, and were enjoying an evening out together. Finally, they explained that the end line “It Runs Deep” referred to the depth of the men’s friendship, and the long lasting bonds that close friends typically had.
Clearcast said they had considered the issue very carefully when approving the ad and believed it to be compliant with the Code. They highlighted that the scene where the group were shown drinking was separate and subsequent to the surfing scenes, in a different location and time of day, ensuring there was no implication that the product contributed to either their ability or inclination, to surf.
They also said they believe the story to be focused on friendship and brotherhood, rather than one of daring or tough behaviour. The men were an established group of friends, and there was a ritualistic feel to their trip which implied that they were experienced surfers rather than amateurs out for a thrill, which was also demonstrated by their ability. Despite the icy conditions, the men had taken precautions and were adequately dressed for the sport. They considered that the depiction of the surfers neither glamorised nor over-dramatised the sport, but showed committed and experienced surfers in realistic conditions. They said there were no signs that the men were in danger at any point in the ad. Finally, they believed the line “It runs deep” would be understood to refer to the sense of kinship in the ad, as opposed to implying that alcohol was a necessary part of the endeavour.
2. Jaegermeister stated that the friends only consumed a single shot of Jägermeister and therefore the ad promoted a sensible form of consumption. They said a 2 cl shot of Jägermeister (the size of the shot glass and measure used in the ad) only contained 0.83 units of alcohol, which was less than the amount in an average pint of beer, which contained approximately 3 units.
Clearcast said at the end of the ad, at the bar or a party, the ad showed five shots of reasonable size being poured in a safe and sensible manner. They highlighted that the men were shown toasting one another, but that the camera cut away, so they were not shown consuming the shots. They said there was no sense that the group would go on to drink more, or that they would purchase repeat rounds.
3. Jaegermeister highlighted that the shots of Jägermeister were consumed at the end of the ad as a toast to friendship. They said the execution of the ad established that the group of men were good friends from the outset. The friends gathered together to go surfing, and there was no change to their friendships, or relationships, when they met later in the evening and consumed a shot of Jägermeister. They also said the men were clearly enjoying the events prior to relaxing together with a drink.
Clearcast said the only visible alcohol in the ad appeared at the end, when shots were poured and toasted by the main characters. Whilst the final scene was set at a party or in a bar, they highlighted that no additional alcohol was seen, and whilst there is some visible dancing in the background, there was no implication that any of the dancers had been drinking. Clearcast therefore believed that the ad showed that the evening was already a success before any alcohol had been consumed. In addition, they said the five main characters were shown from the beginning of the ad as very close friends, and the ad did not imply that any of them were accepted in the group on the condition that they drank, or that a refusal of a shot would lead to them being ostracised by the group.
The ASA noted that the ad was set in Iceland and depicted driving in difficult icy conditions and surfing in very cold and rough waters, both of which we considered to be potentially dangerous activities which required skill and daring. The group were not shown consuming alcohol, and there was no suggestion that they had done so, prior to the evening when they were shown in a bar. Nonetheless, because the ad featured both alcohol, and physically demanding and challenging activities, we considered that it made a clear association between an alcoholic product and tough and daring behaviour. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.
On that point, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Responsible advertising) and 19.5 19.5 Advertisements must not link alcohol with daring, toughness, aggression or unruly, irresponsible or antisocial behaviour. (Alcohol).
2. Not upheld
At the end of the ad the group of friends were shown in a bar each being served one iced shot of Jägermeister. Once served, the group members were shown holding and raising their glasses to one another, and there was no sense of urgency to consume the drinks. Whilst we acknowledged that shots were usually consumed quickly, or in one go, we considered that the presence of a single round of iced shots in the ad did not amount to, or encourage, immoderate drinking, particularly as there was no suggestion that they were consumed in a reckless or irresponsible manner. Therefore, we concluded that the ad did not encourage irresponsible or immoderate drinking.
On that point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society.
(Responsible advertising) and
Advertisements must not feature, imply, condone or encourage irresponsible or immoderate drinking. That applies to both the amount of drink and the way drinking is portrayed.
References to, or suggestions of, buying repeat rounds of alcoholic drinks are not acceptable. That does not prevent, for example, someone buying a drink for each member of a group. It does, however, prevent any suggestion that other members of the group will buy a round. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
3. Not upheld
A large portion of the ad showed the group journeying to the sea and surfing at their destination. Throughout those scenes the men were shown laughing, working together and enjoying one another’s company. We therefore considered that it was clear that the men were good friends, who had known each other for some time. Later in the ad, the group were shown in a bar sharing a round of Jägermeister shots. We considered, however, that the presence of alcohol did not result in a shift in mood or a change in the group’s relationships, and instead was incidental to their enjoyment of the evening and each other’s company. For those reasons, we did not consider that the ad implied that the social success of the evening depended on the presence or consumption of alcohol.
On that point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules1.2 (Responsible advertising) and 19.4 19.4 Advertisements must not imply that drinking alcohol is a key component of social success or acceptance or that refusal is a sign of weakness. Advertisements must not imply that the success of a social occasion depends on the presence or consumption of alcohol. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.