ASA backs Bulmers advertising campaign28th August, 2013 by Andy Young
A complaint to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding a Bulmers Cider television advert has been dismissed.
The complaint was regarding the advert (shown below), which showed a group of people’s night out in reverse. The group were shown drinking the cider at various points during the advert and in particular at the end of the advert, which was the beginning of their night out. The voice-over in the advert said: “We don’t have a master plan, so we don’t know where the night will take us. But one thing is certain. It will begin with a Bulmers.”
A viewer complained about the advert saying that the advert condoned irresponsible drinking, because he believed “it implied the success of a social occasion was always dependent on alcohol.”
In responding to the ASA about the complaint Heineken, the owner of Bulmers, said “the ad was intended to show that Bulmers tended to be the drink that its target audience chose at the beginning of a social occasion and that Bulmers drinkers might take a spontaneous approach to an evening out.”
Adding: “There was nothing in the ad that encouraged irresponsible or immoderate drinking. None of the characters depicted were shown with more than one bottle of Bulmers during the ad and they were never seen consuming the drink. Alcohol was not a key component of the ad and therefore it could not be argued that it was a key component of the success of the social occasions depicted.”
Heineken also said that the advert had been prepared with a sense of responsibility and that the scripts had been amended following advice from advertising compliance consultants Clearcast, to ensure “compliance with both the spirit and letter of the Code.”
In rejecting the complaint the ASA said: “We acknowledged the complainant’s concern, but considered the overall impression of the ad was such that viewers would understand the strap line, and the general message of the ad to be that the young people depicted were enjoying social occasions that evolved spontaneously and that members of the groups shown had a brand preference for Bulmers, rather than that the success of those occasions was dependent on alcohol being consumed.
“While we considered it was clear that the characters in the ad intended to drink alcohol, we noted the product was shown on only a few occasions and that the characters did not appear to behave as though they had consumed alcohol irresponsibly.
“We considered the ad did not imply the success of the social occasions was dependent on the consumption of alcohol and therefore concluded that it did not breach the Code.”