26th February, 2014 by Lauren Eads
Diageo has been banned from broadcasting an advert for its Captain Morgan brand after it was deemed to inappropriately link alcohol to “daring, tough and aggressive” behaviour.
Based on the real-life of notorious 17th century buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan, after which the brand is named, the TV advert shows Morgan in a series of shots riding a horse, discovering treasure in a dark cave before stripping off his shirt and being admired by women – all while being cheered on by crowds and his crew.
It ends with a voice-over stating “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,” ending with the on-screen text “Captain Morgan … LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN… DRINK RESPONSIBLY CAPTAIN’S ORDERS! … for the facts drinkaware.co.uk”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints against the advert; one claiming the ad implied that “drinking alcohol was a key component of social success”, and the other that it “linked alcohol with daring, toughness and aggressive behaviour.”
The first was dismissed however the second complaint was upheld leading to the advert being banned in the UK.
Sir Henry Morgan
Diageo said it did not believe the montages contained or suggested any such behaviour but instead “demonstrated the Captain’s skills as a buccaneer which were “intentionally chosen to avoid any suggestion of daring or aggressive conduct.”
Outside of the celebratory scenes, Diageo said the Captain was only seen holding a glass on one occasion involving a single scene with an older woman, and at another point “gently tipped an empty glass off the table in a playful gesture with the only witness being a dog.”
However the ASA upheld the second complaint stating: “We noted that some shots in the ad highlighted the buccaneer’s playful and on occasion provocative personality, but also noted that he was shown driving a carriage at speed, searching a cave for treasure and emerging from the sea having apparently dived from his ship.
“We considered that those actions and the settings shown in the ad would be associated with buccaneers and seafarers renowned for drinking rum, and for their disregard for authority and the well-being of themselves and others. Therefore, we concluded that, the depiction of the character and his actions, especially when placed alongside the slogan “LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN”, in an ad for rum, linked alcohol with daringness and toughness.”