The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority, UK) has backed a TV advert from Wells & Young’s Brewing Company, after the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) challenged whether the ad ‘encouraged irresponsible and immoderate drinking.’
The ad promoting Estrella beer showed the product being drunk among friends across a day, and a couple were shown kissing as the voice-over and on screen text stated ‘Mediterraneamente. Estrella.’
The YAAC challenged the ad on two counts: firstly for encouraging immoderate drinking; and secondly for linking alcohol to seduction, sexual activity, and sexual success.
However, the ASA did not uphold either issue, stating there was no breach of BCAP (UK Code of Broadcast Advertising) rules on responsible advertising and alcohol.
The ad showed a band playing at a party, before cutting to scenes earlier in the day. These included a man preparing paella for friends at a villa, while others prepared additional food. Other scenes showed the group enjoying an afternoon in the sun, playing table tennis, while drinking and holding bottles of Estrella.
At dinner the group was shown drinking Estrella, and later dancing and drinking together. At the conclusion of the ad, one couple were shown kissing as a voice-over and on screen text stated “Mediterraneamente. Estrella.”
In response to the complaint, Wells & Young’s Brewing Company said the ad was not targeted at a youth audience, and the activities took place over a full day. It said only one bottle of Estrella per adult was shown at the dinner scene, and that no dangerous or irresponsible activities were portrayed in the ad.
The company added the kiss was not linked to the consumption of beer and was not portrayed in a sexual or suggestive way.
Clearcast, an agency which clears ads for UK commercial channels, added no immoderate drinking was shown, no one appeared drunk, and food was clearly featured as an accompaniment.
Ad showed drinking in ‘responsible manner’
In its adjudication, the ASA said, “Whilst the impression created by the ad was that some characters had consumed a couple of drinks, we considered it was clear that they had done so over a prolonged period of time.
“Those drinking were shown doing so in a responsible manner, as they took occasional and controlled sips, and whilst all the characters were clearly enjoying the day and each other's company, no one appeared to be intoxicated or drinking to excess.
"For those reasons, we concluded that the ad did not encourage irresponsible or immoderate drinking.”
In regard to the second issue of linking alcohol to seduction and sexual activity, the ASA said, “We noted the dancing scenes, but they were brief and we considered that they were not sexually suggestive.
“In addition, we considered that the kiss at the end of the ad was playful and flirtatious in tone, as opposed to sexually charged. Because of that, we concluded that the ad did not link alcohol with sexual activity, sexual success or seduction.”
Wells & Young's takes compliance 'very seriously'
In response to the adjudication, Wells & Young's told BeverageDaily.com, "We take compliance to industry regulations very seriously, particularly in regard to responsible drinking and projection of our alcohol brands in a responsible manner. This advert was originally produced by the brand owners, Grupo Damm, who are based in Spain but we worked with all the appropriate agencies to ensure the original footage was edited to meet suitability and compliance regulations for UK audiences.
"We were therefore confident that the advert was not in breach of any code guidelines and are pleased that the issues raised by one complainant were not upheld.
"We'll continue to work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that future advertising and promotions are appropriate for UK audiences and meet our obligations, and our own commitment, to responsible standards of marketing."