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Ban on Cantona Kronenbourg ads revoked

A decision to ban a series of adverts for Kronenbourg 1664 in the UK over claims it falsely implied its brewing and hop production took place in France has been reversed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Heineken UK, parent company to Kronenbourg 1664, requested an independent review following the decision in January, which was this week upheld after it found “significant flaws” in its decision to uphold complaints made against two Kronenbourg 1664 adverts – including a TV commercial featuring ex-footballer Eric Cantona.

Jacco van der Linden, UK marketing director of Heineken, said: “We are delighted that our advertising has finally been judged to be fully compliant with the CAP/BCAP codes and that there is no longer any suggestion that we could mislead consumers. Whilst we fully recognise and support the complaints process operated by the ASA as a hugely important part of effective self regulation, in this particular case, we felt very strongly that the decision to rule against us was simply wrong and would set some unintended precedents for future advertising.

“Thankfully, the independent review process enabled us to highlight our concerns, and it is reassuring that strong & effective oversight is built into the complaints process.

“In practice, this means that we can continue to draw attention to Kronenbourg 1664’s rich heritage from its origins in the Alsace, and the important role of the Strisselspalt hop in creating the beer’s unique taste.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had warned Heineken UK about its emphasis on the beer’s connection with France after receiving two complaints about a press advertisement and a television ad starring former Manchester United footballer and French actor, Eric Cantona, which were said to misleadingly imply Kronenbourg 1664 was brewed in France and that the hops used to produce the beer were grown in France.

However on reflection, and following an independent review, ASA concluded that both advertisements were “not misleading” and reversed their ban in the UK.

In considering on of the advert’s text, “The French know a thing or two about taste. That’s why Kronenbourg 1664 is always brewed with the aromatic Strisselspalt hop for A Taste Supreme”, ASA said:  “The ad contained a large image of a glass of beer accompanied by hops and the slogan “A Taste Supreme”. We considered that it was clear from that image, in conjunction with the text quoted above, that the focus of the ad was on the hops used to produce the beer rather than the brewing process itself. We also noted that the ad contained small print stating that Kronenbourg 1664 was brewed in the UK.”

“Because we were satisfied that consumers would understand the association with France in the context of one of the ingredients used rather than the location of production, and because the ad contained clarification that the beer was brewed in the UK, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.”

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