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Advertiser: Diageo (Captain Morgan)
Medium: Billboard, Facebook
Codes:ASAI Code 6th Edition: 1.6c, 7.1, 7.4a, 7.4b
The advertising which appeared on Facebook featured a picture of Captain Morgan and friends punching the air. The Caption read:
“LEGENDS AREN’T MADE STAYING IN”
This was accompanied by of a bottle of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold with the message:
“Captain Morgan DRINK RESPONSIBLY – CAPTAINS ORDERS! Drinkaware.ie”
The Billboard advertising differed slightly in that it had an image of Captain Morgan on his own. The message was the same but contained the added text “LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN”.
The complainant considered that the advertising breached some of the alcohol sections of the Code. He considered that the advertising was not socially responsible and that it exploited the young and immature by encouraging them to drink excessively. He also considered that the advertising implied that alcohol could improve physical performance, personal qualities or capabilities and contribute to social sporting or business success.
The advertisers said that they were committed to marketing their brands in a responsible way that was in compliance with all regulatory codes and indeed their own internal Diageo Marketing Code (DMC). They said that the campaign in question, the Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold (CMOSG) “Legends aren’t made staying in”, celebrated the legendary adventures of 17th century Welsh privateer of the Caribbean, Sir Henry Morgan. They said that the campaign slogan was underpinned by the tagline ‘Live like the Captain’ and the advertising had made no reference to the consumption and/or purchase of alcohol. They considered that both the slogan and the tagline reaffirmed the philosophy of adventure espoused by Sir Henry Morgan. To emphasise the connection between the two the billboard advertising had included the signature of Henry Morgan.
The advertiser said that their brand team had listened to the guidance given by the ASAI and CopyClear1 in relation to the marketing of the product and had taken that guidance on board. As such, this campaign was a clear move away from the references to and images of ships and oceans that had previously concerned CopyClear.
The advertisers said that, while their campaign reminded people to live and enjoy life, at no point did they suggest that the consumption and/or purchase of Captain Morgan was necessary to do so. Furthermore they said their advertising did not encourage excessive drinking (there was no call to action to consume the product) and it did not present abstinence or moderation in a negative way. Likewise, they said it had not implied that the consumption of alcohol could contribute to social, sporting or business success. In fact, they said that the product image had been deliberately placed to the side and formed only a small part of the advertisement (less than 8% of the total creative space). The image of the CMOSG bottle was, they said, solely for the purpose of brand recognition and campaign continuity.
The advertiser said that in relation to Section 7.1 of the ASAI Code, the advertisement was not socially irresponsible and did not exploit the young or the immature. Furthermore it did not encourage excessive drinking (as there was no call to action to consume the product) and did not present abstinence or moderation in a negative way.
The advertiser also said that the slogan “Legends aren’t made staying in” was a call to consumers to not sit at home but to go out and to think about creating their own legendary life experiences (with no call to action to consume the product). They stated that the term “legends” was used in a mythical narrative/storytelling capacity and that legends were widely known as traditional stories involving human actions often regarded as historical but not authenticated, for example the Celtic legends, Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Salmon of knowledge or the Arthurian legends.
In relation to Sections 7.4(a) and (b) of the ASAI Code they stated that the advertisement did not imply that alcohol improved physical performance or personal qualities or capabilities. Nor did it imply or state that the presence or consumption of alcohol could contribute to social, sporting or business success or that those who do not drink are less acceptable or successful than those who do.
They stated that the clear focus of the advertisement was the reference to Captain Morgan the person through the direct references to him, the slogan, his signature, the tagline and the image of Sir Henry Morgan.
Finally the advertisers said that as part of their commitment to the responsible advertising of alcohol, they ensured that the Drinkaware.ie responsible drinking message and logo were included in the advertising. They said that they also placed notices regularly on their Facebook pages to remind consumers to enjoy CMOSG responsibly.
1 CopyClear are the body responsible for clearing alcohol advertisements prior to publication.
Complaint not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted the link to the adventurer, Sir Henry Morgan, referenced by the advertisers. They considered that that there was no implicit statement in the advertising that in order to have an adventurous evening, it was necessary to drink large quantities, or a whole bottle, of CMOSG. They said that it would be unfair to assume that the inclusion of a product shot in an advertisement was an encouragement or invitation to consume the whole product in one sitting. In the circumstances the Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaint.
No further action was required in this case.