Diageo was forced to pull its current TV advert for Captain Morgan rum after two viewers complained it associated alcohol with daring, toughness and aggressive behaviour.
The ASA ruled: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Diageo Great Britain Ltd that its future advertising must not link alcohol with daringness or toughness.”
The advert featured scenes based on the adventurous lifestyle of the seventeenth century pirate, including swashbuckling behaviour – which drew the admiration of women – diving into the sea and drinking to celebrate his accomplishments.
A voice-over said: “Make no mistake about that man on the bottle of Captain Morgan. That man was a legend. A hero, history remembers. A liver of life. A man who led with his heart and showed his crew a life more legendary. Captain Morgan. Live like the captain.”
The ad ended with the text message: “Captain Morgan … Live like the captain … Drink responsibly captain’s orders ... for the facts drinkaware.co.uk”.
The ASA judged that the depiction of the character and his actions, placed alongside the slogan “Live like the captain”, in an ad for rum, did link alcohol with daringness and toughness.
Diageo denied the advert implied drinking alcohol was a key component of social success or that the success of a social occasion was dependent upon the presence or consumption of alcohol.