Johnnie Walker ad complaint not upheld

19th February, 2021 by Melita Kiely

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint against a Johnnie Walker TV advert that claimed it was irresponsible because it encouraged immoderate drinking.

Johnnie-Walker-Black-Label

A complaint against a Johnnie Walker Black Label TV ad has not been upheld

The TV advert in question was for Johnnie Walker Black Label and aired on 25 November 2020. The advert began with a scene showing a bottle of the blended whisky and a glass just over halfway full with what looked like whisky, ice and an orange peel on the counter of a bar.

The next shot showed a close-up of a woman taking a long, slow sip from the tumbler. The next scene stated ‘every sip a story’, while a voiceover said: “It’s taste that makes an entrance, makes ice wish it lasted longer.”

The complainant argued the glass contained a large amount of neat alcohol and the woman was drinking from it at length, therefore encouraging immoderate drinking.

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo said the advert took viewers through a journey of taste and flavour of Johnnie Walker Black Label, depicted through the woman’s experience. It said the drink in question was a 50ml serving to the whisky, a standard alcohol measure not thought to be excessive in one evening (equal to two units of alcohol).

The firm added there was no indication the woman was going to drink any more alcohol in the advert, and that the scenes depicted in the ad had taken place in the time it took for her to take a sip of the drink. Therefore, Johnnie Walker believed the advert was responsible and did not encourage immoderate drinking.

The ASA ruling found no breach of alcohol advertising standards by Johnnie Walker. The decision stated that because of the shape of the glass and the use of ice, it was not uncommon for tumblers to be more than half full.

Due to the use of a 50ml serving, and the UK chief medical officer’s guidelines recommending women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis, the ASA found the glass did not contain an excessive amount of alcohol.

Furthermore, the ad depicted the woman drinking slowly, therefore it did not imply, condone or encourage irresponsibly or immoderate drinking.

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