Blog: Andy MortonDoes Carlsberg's Seth & Riley Garage ad need swearing?

Andy Morton | 23 April 2014

A medieval fortress, a dead king on a pyre, and some juicy swear words.

No, it's not the new season of Game of Thrones. It is, unbelievably, a new TV ad from Carlsberg, for its newly-launched alcoholic lemonade Seth & Riley Garage. The ad in question has been garnished with language blue enough to make a sailor blush. 

As this is a family subscription global drinks news portal, I won't repeat the words used, but you can listen for yourself in the above clip (earphones in, of course).

In a statement to just-drinks, Carlsberg defended the ad, one of three in the series, saying that company marketing only ever targets consumers 25 and over and that the use of swearing in this particular ad is “not gratuitous and is in keeping with the theme of the films”.

The first point is clearly correct, and I'm never going to argue that drinking-age adults should be protected from hearing what is common currency in your average bar.

But what I would ask, is why did Carlsberg think the advert needed swearing?

It is, after all, supposed to be funny, and the campaign includes two other commercials that work just fine without it. 

Perhaps, though, the intention is to shock. Carlsberg has described Seth & Riley's Garage as its entry into the so-called 'hard drinks' category - some 'hard language' was possibly inevitable.

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