ASA bans Captain Morgan TV ad

31st August, 2016 by Annie Hayes

A television advert for Captain Morgan rum has been banned by UK regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for implying that alcohol can increase an individual’s popularity or confidence.


The new advert was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority

Alcohol Concern and a member of the public challenged the advert, claiming it to be irresponsible on the grounds that it implied drinking alcohol “could contribute to an individual’s popularity or confidence”, and the success of the social occasion “depended on the presence or consumption of alcohol”.

The advert, which features a party set on an old-fashioned wooden sailing ship, sees a man with the face of the Captain Morgan cartoon superimposed over his own as he dances with friends, swings from a rope and upends a sofa to send someone lying on it into a standing position.

On-screen text stating ‘Captain the Dancefloor’ and ‘Captain the Night’ is shown throughout.

The commercial ends with the man posing with one foot on a railing at the front of the ship along with text reading ‘Put Your Captain Face On’, before a range of Captain Morgan products appear with text reading ‘Live Like The Captain’.

Diageo defended the advert, claiming that it portrayed a message “of camaraderie, enjoying time with friends and living life to the full”.

It added the use of the Captain Morgan face image on the main character did not symbolise alcohol consumption and that no alcohol was shown in the party scenes – rather, it was the partygoers that were depicted as making the event successful, with “no increase in the level of enjoyment once the Captain Morgan figure appeared”.

However, the ASA said that viewers were likely to understand that the figure’s behaviour resulted from his consumption of Captain Morgan rum.

The ASA added: “Although the ad did not explicitly depict drinking alcohol as resulting in a change in the central character’s behaviour in a ‘before and after’ scenario, we considered that the superimposed Captain Morgan face implied that he had already consumed the product and thus linked his confident behaviour to this consumption.

“We concluded that the ad implied that drinking alcohol could enhance personal qualities and was therefore irresponsible.”

However the ASA said the ad did not imply that the general success of the party was dependent on the presence or consumption of alcohol.

“Although we considered that the behaviour of the figure with Captain Morgan’s face would be understood as being associated with alcohol consumption, there was nothing to indicate that his actions had any positive or negative influence on the enjoyment of other partygoers,” the regulator explained.

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form and told Diageo not to imply that alcohol could enhance confidence.

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