A Courage beer advert that suggested a man needed a drink before gaining enough "Dutch courage" to tell a woman that a new dress made her bottom look big, is unacceptable, the advertising watchdog said today.
The poster ad showed a nervous man sitting on a sofa next to a can of beer with a woman standing with her back to him wearing a figure-hugging dress with its sales label still attached.
A speech bubble from the pint of beer stated: "Take courage my friend," a throwback to Courage's classic advertising campaigns going back to the 1950s.
Three people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the advert implied that the beer would give the man confidence to make negative comments about the woman or to take advantage of her.
The Wells & Youngs Brewing Company said it had taken care to ensure there was no reference to bravery in the advert and that consumer research had found no suggestion that the beer would give the man confidence.
But the ASA said while it appreciated the poster was supposed to be humorous, it was not acceptable.
"We considered that the combination of the text and the image of the man with an open beer can and half empty glass of beer was likely to be understood by consumers to carry the clear implication that the beer would give the man enough confidence to tell the woman that the dress was unflattering," it said.