The company has been reprimanded by the ASA for advertising around its Captain Morgan rum brand

The company has been reprimanded by the ASA for advertising around its Captain Morgan rum brand

Diageo has been warned not to imply alcohol can “overcome boredom” in its future advertising in the wake of a ban on a Facebook ad for its Captain Morgan rum brand. 

The ad featured the Captain Morgan pirate character raising a glass, surrounded by his crew, with the text: “Wednesday: I'm declaring war on mid-week boredom”. A single complainant, The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council, argued the image was irresponsible, because it implied that alcohol could “overcome boredom and was capable of changing mood”.

However, Diageo claimed the ad was “to call consumers to take a break from their normal weekday routine and spend time with friends”. The firm also denied the image was encouraging people to drink as there was no mention of alcohol consumption.

But, in a ruling today (23 July), the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: “We considered that most consumers, viewing the image and text together ... would interpret the ad to mean that the Captain was alleviating his boredom by drinking Captain Morgan with friends.”

The ASA said the ad must not appear again in its “current form”. The body added: "We told Diageo ... to ensure they did not state or imply that alcohol could overcome boredom or was capable of changing mood in future.”

It is the second time in the space of five months that an ad for Captain Morgan has fallen foul of the ASA. In February, the body banned a TV ad for the rum brand on the basis it linked alcohol consumption with "daringness or toughness".

Expert analysis

Global market review of rum – forecasts to 2017

Global market review of rum – forecasts to 2017

For a category that sells around 146.4m cases annually, it may seem unusual to characterise Rum as a relatively unexploited opportunity. Indeed it is already a diverse and eclectic category with a wid...read more