Whisky ad banned for featuring man jumping off a clif

Whisky ad banned for featuring man jumping off a clif
Whisky ad banned for featuring man jumping off a clif

A whisky advert featuring a man jumping off a mountain has been banned for promoting “dangerous and daring behaviour”.

Scottish whisky brand The Macallan unveiled the advert as part of a new campaign in December 2018.

However, UK’s regulator of advertising, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has deemed the advert “irresponsible” and ruled it must not appear again in its current form.

The short clip, which was created for use on television, video on demand and Instagram, showed a man growing wings as he tumbled towards the ground before on-screen text read: “Would you risk falling for the chance to fly?”

The final frame stated “The Macallan. Make the call”, accompanied by an image of the brand’s whisky in a glass.

Edrington Distillers, trading as Macallan, said the advert showed a fantastical winged man who was not seen to drink alcohol in the clip, and explained that the story was a metaphor about making decisions.

Paul Rizzello, the creative director at J Walter Thompson – the marketing communications brand behind the advert – previously told The Drum: “The pressure of a big decision often makes us hesitate just when success is within reach.

“We’re so afraid of getting it wrong, we end up avoiding those decisions altogether. This story is about someone who decides to go for it. He makes the call.”

Six people complained about the ad after it was launched, stating that it was “irresponsible” and linked alcohol with daring behaviour.

Advertising clearance agency Clearcast said it considered the rule preventing advertisers from linking alcohol with daring behaviour but had decided the campaign was fantastical enough to be acceptable.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the scenes were reminiscent of the extreme sport of base-jumping, and the act of jumping off the cliff was dangerous, potentially fatal and consisted of extreme risk-taking behaviour.

Although the character was not seen consuming alcohol at any point, the ASA said the ad “made a clear association between an alcoholic product and potentially very dangerous, daring behaviour”, and concluded that it was irresponsible.

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.