Profile: Sir Charlie Mayfield

John Lewis Partnership Chairman

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.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Are you serious? Who are these people!!

    To me, this advert is simply an exaggeration of the real world! In various circles, more people than not look forward to that glass of wine or pint of beer after a hard week at the office. Over-indulging in any kind of alcohol is bad for you, but to complain that an advert depicting people looking forward to a glass of beer after a stressful situation is just ridiculous.

    To whoever the complainant was, please, do go get yourself a life.

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  • IF you really wanted a picture of the real world then lets have some car crashes, some A&E hospital shots, some homelessness shots, domestic violence, the doctor, MP, MD, school kids getting drunk and lying in the gutter.

    Advertising one of the biggest killers on TV should be banned. The 'real' world has been manipulated by the drinks industry for too long. Society needs to change.

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  • What they don't mention is the complainant was an offshoot of Alcohol Concern - the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council - with no member of the public complaining at all.

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