Print This Post
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 9.1, 9.5(a), 9.5(b), 9.8(a), 9.8(f), 9.8(g), 9.8(h), 9.8(i)
Television advertising for Rockshore, entitled “This is the West” featured a group of five friends heading to the West of Ireland to stay in a cottage. The advertisement was accompanied by up-beat music. The opening line of the song attached to the advertisement contained the words “Let’s party”.
In the first scene the group of friends were shown arriving at the cottage. One young man was carrying a 6 pack of Rockshore Lager. In the next scene, the group were running in barefeet on the beach towards the sea. In the following scenes they were depicted throwing rocks into the sea and walking on rocks beside the sea.
Two people were featured carrying a basket of turf into the cottage. The text “This is the West” appeared on-screen. Through the window of the cottage, we could see some of the group dancing and throwing their arms in the air.
The group returned to the beach again. They ran towards and away from the waves. They helped each other up a slope. One man took a photograph of some of the group in a pen like structure. They played football. One man appeared to have something in his eye which his female friend tried to remove.
The friends then walked along the water’s edge. They sat on the rocks overlooking the beach. One man returned to the cottage to grab two beers from the fridge. When he returned to the beach the others were drinking at a picnic table. The friends clinked glasses and bottles.
In the final scene, the same man was portrayed sitting at his computer looking at photographs from the weekend. His mood appeared to be down. He reached for his jacket and went to the pub where his friends were drinking. When he entered the pub and saw his friends, his mood improved and he appeared to be happy again while drinking beer with them.
A male voiceover delivered the following message:
“New Rockshore, a light and refreshing tasting lager from the Brewers of St. James’s Gate”.
The Rockshore Irish Lager logo appeared on-screen accompanied by the following text:
“INSPIRED BY THE WEST, BREWED IN ST. JAMES’S GATE”.
The top right hand corner of the screen contained the Drink Aware message as follows:
“Get the facts. Be Drink Aware. Visit drinkaware.ie”.
The complainant objected to the scenes featuring the young people at the beach and drinking alcohol at the picnic table. He said that as per the ASAI Code it was wrong to feature the consumption of alcohol with any activity relating to water.
The Executive challenged whether the advertisement complied with Sections 9.1, 9.5 (a) and (b), 9.8(a) (f) and (g) of the Code.
The advertisers said that as the world’s leading Drinks Company they took their commitment to promoting responsible drinking and balanced lifestyles very seriously. They said all of their campaigns were designed and executed to ensure that they fully complied with the letter and spirit of the ASAI Code.
The advertisers said that the advertising in question portrayed people enjoying a weekend at the beach in the West of Ireland and engaging in normal activities, such as walking on the beach and dipping their feet in the water, enjoying a cosy night in a cottage, playing football on the beach and strolling around and finishing their day by having a beer on the outdoor table outside the cottage. They said the sequence which ensued depicted the characters reuniting after their weekend break, meeting in a pub to celebrate their friendship.
The advertisers said all of the activities depicted, with the exception of the cosy night in and the final pub scene, took place during the day. They said that alcohol was never pictured as being consumed before or during these activities or being consumed near water. They said alcohol consumption had only been portrayed at the end of the advertisement as a conclusion to a great day with friends. They said at no point had the advertisement suggested that those featured would be in or nearby water after drinking. They also said that none of the activities around water undertaken by the people pictured in the advertisement required high concentration in order to be done safely. They said they did not believe that enjoying a beer after a day of fun could be considered as unsafe, unwise or unacceptable.
In regards to the compliance of the advertising with Section 9.1 of the Code, the advertisers said that while a small amount of drinks were featured in the advertisement, two of the group were holding a glass of water. In the light of this, they did not believe that the advertisement had either encouraged excessive drinking or presented abstinence in a negative way.
In relation to Section 9.5 of the Code, the advertisers said that while the advertisement had depicted alcohol being consumed in a social context, it had not at any stage suggested a shift in atmosphere or an improvement in personal qualities. The said that those featured had been depicted enjoying each other’s company independently of alcohol.
In conclusion the advertisers said that the advertisement had only depicted moderate and responsible consumption of alcohol. It had never been suggested that consuming alcohol would be transformative in itself. They did not consider the advertising to be in breach of Sections 9.8(a) (f) and (g) of the Code.
Complaint Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that at the start of the advertisement one six pack of beer had been depicted amongst a group of five people and therefore they did not consider that there had been a suggestion of over consumption of the product. They did not consider that the advertisement was in breach of Section 9.1 of the Code.
The Committee noted that the Code does not prevent the depiction of water in alcohol advertisements but rather restricted direct association with the consumption of alcoholic drinks and activities or locations where drinking alcohol would be unsafe, unwise or unacceptable. They noted that the friends were fully clothed at all times and that the consumption of the alcohol product took place at the end of the advertisement, when the group of friends were sitting, also fully clothed, at a picnic table in the cottage garden overlooking the beach.
The Committee were concerned at such a strong focus on activity adjacent to the sea, given the potential for consumers to make a direct association between the consumption of the alcoholic drinks and the location which could become unsafe. Having closely reviewed the case, they did not consider, on balance that the scenes depicted constituted a breach of Sections 9.8(h) and (i) of the Code.
In relation to whether the advertisement had implied that alcohol was a mood-changer or transformative of an individual or a situation, the Committee considered the scenes where one of the men left his office and arrived at the pub. They considered that his apparent change of mood was attributable to joining his friends, rather than due to the presence or consumption of alcohol. They did not consider therefore that the advertisement was in breach of Section 9.8 (g) of the Code.
No further action was required in this case,
The Complaints Committee reminded advertisers of the need to ensure that advertising for alcohol products complied with both the letter and spirit of the Code.