Ad description

A TV ad for McQueen Gin, seen on 19 June2019, showed three people walking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands interspersed with scenes and the sound of a drink being made with berries, lime and ice. One member of the group, wearing a wetsuit, was shown diving into a loch. The group was then seen helping each other ascend to the top of a rocky peak. At the top, they sat and raised tall glasses filled with a clear drink, lime and ice to each other. Voice-over during the ad said, “Choose to explore; choose diving into something new; choose taking a different direction; choose nature and its elements; choose bringing your friends to the top; choose a drink full of adventure; choose McQueen Gin, adventurous Scottish spirit.” The ad ended by showing a bottle of McQueen gin on a rock with a loch in the background. On-screen text stated “McQUEEN – Adventurous Scottish Spirit ‒ #distilledtobedifferent”.


The complainant challenged whether it was irresponsible to link alcohol with mountain climbing.


Trossachs Distillery Ltd t/a McQueen Gin said they were fully aware of their responsibilities as an alcohol company; that they did not consider the ads irresponsible; and that they were satisfied that Clearcast, when clearing the ad, had adhered to the Code.

Clearcast said they saw the ad as portraying stylised “activities” that tied in with the brand’s identity, ingredients and product rather than any significant physical feats. They said the outdoor walkers were seen going up a gentle incline along a marked path designed for walkers and that the swimmer was shown diving safely. They said the group was not shown partaking in dangerous mountain climbing or carrying equipment that implied there would be difficult terrain to combat, which would make ascending or descending a safety concern. Clearcast believed portrayals of refreshment after activity or enjoying being outdoors, such as on a beach after swimming, were not uncommon in alcohol ads and had been found not to breach the Code. They said there was no implication of alcohol being consumed during the activity.




The ASA considered that the implication of the sequence of events shown in the ads was that the group drank McQueen Gin and a mixer at the summit of a mountain peak, after which they would need to make their way back down. The ad had previously shown the group helping each other up rocky terrain and sitting on rocks at the top. We considered the implication was that they would need to descend from that height along similar terrain. The Code permitted alcohol ads to feature sporting or other physical activities, but stated that ads must not imply those activities were undertaken after consumption of alcohol. In this case, we considered the ad suggested that the activities would be undertaken after the consumption of alcohol and were therefore irresponsible. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 19.13 (Alcohol).



The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Trossachs Distillery Ltd t/a McQueen Gin to ensure alcohol ads were not irresponsible in future by, for example, suggesting that sporting or other physical activities were undertaken after consumption of alcohol.



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