'Social success' beer ad banned

Frosty jugs of beer in summer sun.

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%An advert for some of the UK's best-known beer brands has been banned for implying that alcohol is linked to social success and helps overcome problems.

The ad for the Let There Be Beer campaign featured a man nervously getting to know his girlfriend's father and a woman overcome with office work before they reached for a glass of beer.
The Alcohol Concern Youth Alcohol Advertising Council complained that the ad implied that alcohol could contribute to an individual's popularity or confidence, was a key component of social success, portrayed alcohol as indispensable and implied that it had therapeutic qualities.

The Coalition of UK Brewers, made up of ABInBev, Carlsberg UK, Heineken UK, Miller Brands UK and Molson Coors Brewing Company, said the ad was meant to "celebrate the role that beer can play in life, but in a light-hearted, amusing way".

It felt that the storyline involving the woman at work showed her pleased to be out of the office rather than being pleased because she had a beer.

Advertising clearance agency Clearcast believed there was nothing in the storylines that implied alcohol could contribute to an individual's popularity or confidence.

But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the storyline where the man met his girlfriend's father could be considered to imply that alcohol contributed to his popularity and confidence.

The ASA said: "In the storyline featuring the young man and his girlfriend's father, we noted that until the beers were produced by the daughter character, the young man's behaviour had been nervous, awkward and uncomfortable.

"Once the beers were produced, his behaviour changed considerably and he appeared calm and confident, seeming to tell jokes and laugh hysterically with the man he had previously been visibly nervous of.

"We disagreed with the Coalition of UK Brewers' comment that a period of time had clearly elapsed in between the young woman leaving to get ready and returning with the beers and that this contributed to the men's growing ease with each other. We considered that the implication was that the beer was responsible for the change of mood and behaviour."

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

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