Beer brands rapped for implying alcohol improves popularity

An advert for an alcohol industry initiative to kickstart beer sales in the UK has been banned for suggesting drinking alcohol makes people more popular.

The “Let there be beer” advert, which launched this summer, cuts between three scenes around a barbeque gone wrong, a stressed office worker and a young man attempting to impress his girlfriend’s father. The characters eventually overcome the different scenarios following the introduction of beer to the chorus of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from “The Sound of Music”.

A complainant challenged the TV spot for promoting alcohol as having therapeutic qualities capable of changing behavior as well as implying that it was key to improving people’s popularity.  

The Coalition of UK Brewers, which represents the ad’s creators AB InBev, Carlsberg UK, Heineken UK, Miller Brands and Molson Coors, dismissed the concerns and said it was meant to be an “exaggerated interpretation of the real world”. It claimed the scenes attempted to identify situations where beer might be a “credible alternative’ to other drinks.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not agree and ruled the TV spot implied drinking beer could people overcome problems such as a larger workload and emotional stress. Despite certain scenes showing beer being a source of refreshment, the regulator said other scenarios promoted beer as being key to the success of social occasions.

It comes a week after the advertising watchdog cleared a separate product placement campaign from the organisation that featured beer brands being paired with food during ad breaks on Channel 4.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here