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‘Irresponsible’ whisky ad banned for featuring man jumping off a mountain

The Advertising Standards Authority banned the ad for Macallan for linking the consumption of alcohol with daring behaviour.

An ad for Macallan whisky has been banned for promoting risky behaviour (Bonhams/PA)
An ad for Macallan whisky has been banned for promoting risky behaviour (Bonhams/PA)

A whisky ad featuring a man leaping off a mountain has been banned for promoting risky behaviour.

The Macallan whisky ad for television, video on demand and Instagram, seen in December, showed the man growing wings as he tumbled towards the ground before on-screen text states: “Would you risk falling for the chance to fly?”

The final frame stated “The Macallan. Make the call”, accompanied by an image of the whisky in a glass.

Six people complained that the ad was irresponsible and linked alcohol with daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour.

Edrington Distillers, trading as Macallan, said the ad showed a fantastical winged man who was not seen to drink alcohol, and the story was a metaphor about making decisions.

The overall theme of the global campaign is about bold decision making and targeting a new generation of luxury consumers

Ad clearance agency Clearcast said it considered the rule preventing advertisers from linking alcohol with daring behaviour but had decided the campaign was fantastical enough to be acceptable.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the scenes were reminiscent of the extreme sport of base-jumping, and the act of jumping off the cliff was dangerous, potentially fatal and consisted of extreme risk-taking behaviour.

Although the character was not seen consuming alcohol at any point, the ASA said the ad “made a clear association between an alcoholic product and potentially very dangerous, daring behaviour”, and concluded that it was irresponsible.

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

A spokeswoman for The Macallan said: “The overall theme of the global campaign is about bold decision making and targeting a new generation of luxury consumers. This will continue to be the focus of the global campaign, though we will of course take on board the ASA’s comments in relation to the film elements in the UK market as we develop the campaign in the future.”

PA

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