To Ban or Not to Ban: Estrella Damm Beer Spot Shows Drinking and Swimming

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Don't drink and swim, says the ASA.

The British ad watchdog has banned a cinema ad for the Estrella Damm beer brand because it was deemed "irresponsible," for showing people running for a dip in the ocean right after drinking some lager.

The ad, created by ad agency Villarosas, is a 3-minute spot which shows a young man arriving at a coastal town to take part in a culinary course at the famed elBulli. He and his friends, along with their trusty beer bottles, then engage in the following seemingly innocuous activities: playing cards, riding motorcycles, snorkelling, swimming and dancing on the beach.

The ASA received a complaint that said the ad was irresponsible for linking alcohol with activities like motorcycling and swimming, where drinking would be unsafe.

Wells & Young, the parent company for Estrella, said the ad had already been approved by the Cinema Advertising Association's Copy Panel and made it clear that the various activities depicted in the spot were shown as happening over an extended period of time. The way the shots were taken show different events happening at different times, using changes of clothing and lighting. From over 1.6 million admissions, only one complaint was received.

As in the case of the ASA adjudication involving Hailee Steinfeld and Prada, the regulatory authority's assessment took a little, gave a little. It agreed with the response that the ad depicts activities over the course of several days or weeks and so certain scenes, like drinking followed by snorkelling or motorbiking, would not lead viewers to think these activities had happening right after some serious partying.

However, it took issue with the night scenes that show the protagonists attending a beach party, dancing holding beer bottles and then rushing towards the ocean and jumping in. "We considered that the viewers were likely to interpret those night scenes of dancing, drinking and swimming as being directly chronological," it wrote, and prohibited the ad from appearing again in its current form.

What do you think? Does the ASA just need to get out of the house once in a while or does the act encourage drunk-diving?

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