Pernod Ricard has escaped a sanction from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the body rejected a complaint over an advert for Chivas Regal blended Scotch whisky. 

A poster advertising the whisky displayed the text: "Annual bonus: Having more friends than you had last year", prompting a complaint the ad "implied alcohol could enhance popularity". But Pernod argued its "Live with Chivalry" campaign, running since Autumn 2008, aimed to "remind Chivas Regal drinkers there were elements of living one's life besides personal advancement such as enjoying friends' company or celebrating the success of others".

The producer told the ASA it thought most people "appreciate and understand their message that financial success was not the 'be-all and end-all of life'".  

In its ruling, published on Wednesday (4 July), the ASA said because the poster was part of a series it thought its context would be clear to consumers.

"We considered the phrase 'Annual bonus: having more friends than you had last year' encouraged consumers to change their perception of what an 'annual bonus' meant to them and to recognise those additional friends as a bonus," the ASA added. 

It refused to uphold the complaint and said no further action was needed. 

Chivas Brothers is Pernod Ricard's UK-based Scotch whisky and premium gin unit.