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Beer advert gets Mallusk Carpets into hot water with ASA

BeercanA radio advertisement in which a man goes shopping for a carpet instead of watching football on TV and drinking beer has landed a carpet retailer in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority.

In the advertisement for Antrim retailer Mallusk Carpets the sound of a can being opened is heard and a male voice says: 'On the couch, drinking beer, watching football, what could be better?' In reply, a female voice then says 'The massive sale at Mallusk Carpets, that's what.' The male voice replies 'But what about my football?' and is then told: 'Well maybe you'll score later on, especially after I net a bargain.' The male voice then says: 'Yeah come to think of it, we did get a great deal at the last sale at Mallusk carpets, where's the car keys?' The sound of a bunch of keys being picked up is then heard.

The complainant challenged whether the reference to alcohol and driving was irresponsible.

Mallusk Carpets told the ASA it believed it was clear from the narrative that the male voice was looking forward to drinking a beer. They said that the man got as far as opening the can, yet did not get to drink even a sip due to his partner asserting that they should go to the sale. It said there was no irresponsible behaviour because he did not drink any alcohol and instead went out shopping.

In its ruling, the ASA acknowledged that the advertisement might have given the impression that the man had not yet started drinking the beer. However, it considered the advertisement was ambiguous as to whether or not the man had started drinking and considered that the sound of the can being opened along with the man's use of the phrase 'drinking beer' to describe what he was presently doing suggested that he had consumed alcohol. Because it linked alcohol with driving, the ASA concluded that the ad was irresponsible.

Mallusk was told not to use the advertisement again and not to link alcohol with driving in future advertisements.

Photo: Craig Sunter.