The advert on Facebook featured a picture of Captain Morgan raising a glass and cheering, while surrounded by his admiring crew. The image was captioned: “Wednesday. I’m declaring war on mid-week boredom.”
The advertising watchdog ruled: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Diageo Great Britain Ltd to ensure they did not state or imply that alcohol could overcome boredom or was capable of changing mood in future.”
Claimed the advert was irresponsible
The ban followed a complaint from the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC). It claimed the advert was irresponsible because it implied that alcohol could overcome boredom and was capable of changing mood.
Diageo replied the advert was designed to call consumers to take a break from their normal weekday routine and spend time with friends mid-week rather than wait for the weekend.
The Facebook post was not a call to drink, as there was no mention of alcohol consumption, and the image did not feature the product or servings of alcohol prominently, it claimed.
While acknowledging the captain and crew had raised their glasses in celebration, Diageo claimed this was only a peripheral part of the image. The ad was written in the same tone as a series of other regular posts on the Captain Morgan Facebook page which also promoted meeting with friends or the Wednesday mid-week milestone, it added.
Those included ones stating: “Gather your crew” and “Navigate through hump day and set your sights on the weekend!”
‘Navigate through hump day’
Consumers viewing the advert would understand that the Captain and crew were celebrating the end of mid-week boredom, achieved through coming together, and not that alcohol consumption was the means to that end, it further claimed. Diageo also highlighted that the ad was one of a series of posts during the course of the week, which included two responsible drinking posts.
Facebook confirmed the ad did not violate its internal policies and was appropriately age-gated. It had not received complaints directly.
In upholding the complaint, the ASA said: “We considered that most consumers, viewing the image and text together, particularly in the context of the Captain Morgan Facebook page, would interpret the ad to mean that the captain was alleviating his boredom by drinking Captain Morgan with friends.”
The watchdog concluded that despite the presence of the drink responsibly message, the advert implied that the captain had sought alcohol to improve his mood. “Because of that, we concluded that the ad implied that alcohol could overcome boredom and was capable of changing mood, and was therefore in breach of the code.”
Meanwhile, a Diageo TV advert linking the drinking of Captain Morgan rum with adventure was banned by the ASA in February.