A TV ad for Diageo's Captain Morgan rum has been banned in the U.K. for suggesting that alcohol boosts confidence.
The "Go Full Captain" spot, by Anomaly London, takes place at a party on board a ship, and is set to a cover of Chic's "Le Freak," sung in Mandarin. The main character has the face of Captain Morgan, taken from the rum's brand logo, superimposed over his own face.
The "Captain" is shown dancing with friends, tipping up a sofa, and using a rope to swing form one deck to another.
On-screen text reads, "Captain the dance floor," "Captain the night," "Put your Captain face on" and "Live like the Captain."
Complaints from pressure group Alcohol Concern, as well as from the public, alleged that the ad portrays alcohol consumption as contributing to an individual's popularity or confidence – an implication that is banned by U.K. watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ASA ban came despite a vigorous defense by Diageo of its own commercial. In a response to the charges, the global drinks giant said that the ad was about enjoying time with friends and living life to the full, and pointed out that no alcohol was shown during the party scenes.
Diageo insisted that the man with the Captain Morgan face was not shown to be more popular than the other partygoers, and "there was no transformational moment at which point his behavior was shown to change, whether due to the consumption of alcohol or association with the Captain Morgan brand."
However, the ASA judged that the central figure's "uninhibited" and "mischievous" behavior looked like it had resulted from his consumption of Captain Morgan rum, and said that the spot must not appear again in its current form.
Diageo's last ad ban from the ASA was back in October 2014, when an ad by ICP London for a frozen alcoholic cocktail drink called Parrot Bay got into trouble because of its appeal to children.