Carling to abandon tongue-in-cheek advertising for 2005

Coors Brewers is planning a strategic shift in the advertising for its Carling lager brand, following the launch of new Ofcom rules this week to tighten alcohol advertising on television.

Carling, which is associated with cheeky and irreverent advertising, is thought to be launching a new campaign next year focusing primarily on the lager. An insider says the new “artistically shot” ad will steer clear from its controversial past.

The brand is renowned for its infamous “licking” campaign two years ago, featuring a woman in her underwear pouring a trail of beer over the floor and herself as her boyfriend licks it up. The Independent Television Commission restricted the showing of the campaign until after the 9pm watershed, after it triggered complaints for being offensive and using sexual imagery (MW September 12, 2002).

The Leith Agency handles Carling’s advertising. This summer, it created a poster campaign for Carling Extra Cold, featuring a wedding cake cracking under the weight of the bride figurine. This also triggered complaints that it was insensitive to overweight people.

Under the new Ofcom rules, which come into force in January, drinks manufacturers will not be allowed to advertise alcohol as cool, tough or sexy. Commercials will also not be allowed to “refer to daring, toughness or unruly behaviour”. As a result, drinks manufacturers Bacardi-Martini and Diageo are also considering changing their advertising next year.

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