The ad features a series of shots of the brand character performing adventurous acts that win him the respect of his crew and women he comes into contact with.
Scenes include the captain emerging from the sea while his crew cheer him and another where he waves at women while riding past them on a horse drawn carriage. The ad ends with shots of the characters holding glasses of the rum while a narrator describes the captain’s swashbuckling deeds as “legendary”. It ends with the strapline “Live Like the Captain…Drink Responsibly, Captain’s Orders”.
Diageo defended the TV spot, which it credited for helping to return sales across Great Britain to growth after several quarters in its latest results, claiming it was far-removed from the “real-life” of today. It pointed to the minimal appearance of the drink in the ad and said there was “nothing to suggest” the rum enhanced the Captain’s skills as a “buccaneer”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concluded that the ad linked alcohol with “daringness and toughnes”. It must not be shown again and Diageo was warned not to employ a similar tactic for its other brands.
Separately, A TV ad for Heineken’s brand escaped censure after it was investigated for implying drinking cider could overcome problems. The ad features three characters overcoming seemingly impossible situations such as a goal filled with bricks and a trick snooker shot.
The ad ends with one of the characters toasting himself with a pint of Strongbow and the strapline “Earn It”.
The ASA ruled that while the cider was shown as being “earned” by all three characters, it did not promote the drink as being the reward for them rising to their challenges. The drink is shown only once in the ad at the end.
It comes just weeks after Heineken challenged an ad ban for its Kronenbourg brand after two campaigns were found to overemphasise the beer’s French heritage.