'Irresponsible' The Macallan whisky advert banned for featuring man jumping off mountain

Sarah Young
Tuesday 09 April 2019 15:26 BST
(The Macallan
(The Macallan

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.

The decision comes just one week after the ASA banned a radio advert for trivialising cosmetic surgery.

The advert, which was created by Glasgow-based cosmetic surgery company Cosmedicare, featured a voiceover from a woman explaining the reason she performed a belly dance on top of a bar was to celebrate her recent cosmetic surgery.

A spokesperson for ASA explained the advert may lead listeners to believe they're only able to exude confidence and feel attractive after undergoing cosmetic surgery.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in