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beer complaint falls flat as ASA clears Heineken ad

21 September 2011

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has thrown out complaints that an award winning advert by Europes largest brewer breached its codes on social responsibility.

The advertising watchdog has ruled that the Heineken ad entitled The Entrance showing a smartly dressed man wandering through a party, performing various tricks and being admired by women, did not breach its advertising rules on Social Responsibility and Alcohol.

Complainants, including the Molson Coors Brewing Company, challenged the ad on the basis that it implied alcohol could enhance personal qualities and talents, contribute to popularity, confidence and social and sexual success, and make a social occasion successful. However, the ASA said that it was not in breach because the mans skills and popularity are not linked with him drinking Heineken.

The ad has been a resounding success for the brewer, receiving nearly 4 million hits on You Tube in just three weeks.

According to Nina Best, advertising lawyer at Browne Jacobson, the drinks manufacturer has been "savvy" with its latest campaign:

"This ruling shows there is a fine line between what the ASA consider a breach and what it deems acceptable.

"This is a coup for Heinekens savvy marketing team who made sure the bottle of beer is out of shot for the majority of the ad, and it is this that subtly disconnects the skilful, popular man from the beverage.

"Heineken operate in a cut throat industry. They have pumped millions into this latest global marketing campaign and to fall foul of the UKs advertising laws at this stage would have been disastrous."

This is not the first time that these two brewing giants have clashed. In December the ASA threw out a complaint by Heineken about an advert promoting Molson Coors Carling lager brand in the UK.

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Lakhbir Rakar

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Manager