A television advert for Southern Comfort has been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog for linking alcohol consumption to a successful evening.

Southern Comfort owner Brown-Forman must not show the advert again, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said in its ruling, published on Wednesday (29 October).

The watchdog received four complaints about the advert, which showed a group of friends dancing and posing for a photograph in a bar with glasses of Southern Comfort. A strapline for the ad read: "For picture perfect nights, please drink responsibly."

The ASA ruled that viewers would link the first part of this strapline with previous scenes of people enjoying themselves with Southern Comfort. "We concluded that the ad suggested the success of the social occasion depended on the presence and consumption of alcohol," it said.

Its ruling is a blow to Brown-Forman, which has been at the forefront of industry efforts in the UK to actively promote responsible drinking.

Brown-Forman argued that the advert never "explicity showed alcohol being consumed" and that the strapline was intended to link enjoyment with responsible drinking.

"The phrase 'picture perfect' was intended to link the message of responsible drinking to the ad's previous scenes, which culminated in a photograph of the friends enjoying themselves being stuck on a pin board as a memento of happy times," the US-based company said.