An advert for Captain Morgan rum has been banned by regulators for suggesting alcohol makes you more confident and better on the dance floor. The TV ad featured a party on an old-fashioned wooden sailing ship, with a fun-loving man shown dancing around the boat while having the face of the Captain Morgan logo superimposed over his own.
He is seen swinging from one deck to another on ropes, upending a sofa and dancing to Chic's Le Freak.
Text alongside says, "Captain the dance floor" and "Captain the night". It ends with the man posing triumphantly at the bow of the boat, with one foot on the railing and his hand in the air, as the on-screen slogan "Put your captain face on" appears in the centre.
Alcohol Concern, the leading UK charity on alcohol abuse, wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to complain the advert was irresponsible because it implied alcohol "could contribute to an individual's popularity or confidence". A member of the public also complained.
Diageo, the company which owns the rum brand, defended the advert saying no alcohol was shown in the party scenes and that the product was only shown in a still image at the end, alongside a responsible drinking message.
It said the promotion didn't suggest alcohol contributed to the confidence or enjoyment of party goers, and claimed the Captain Morgan face superimposed on the man didn't suggest he'd drunk any rum, but simply "emphasise(d) the attitude that the brand embodied – one of camaraderie, enjoying time with friends and living life to the full".
In a ruling published on Wednesday (31 August), the ASA disagreed and said viewers were likely to equate the character with drinking the rum.
"Viewers were therefore likely to understand that the central figure's behaviour resulted from his consumption of Captain Morgan rum," it said.
"We also noted that the man was shown dancing in an uninhibited way, posing triumphantly at the bow of the ship and acting in a mischievous manner (for example, by upending the sofa), which we considered suggested confidence.
"We considered that the use of 'captain' as a verb to mean being in charge or in control carried connotations of enhanced confidence, dominance, and ability to lead others.
"In that context, we considered that the phrases ... would be understood by consumers as invitations to achieve a confident, uninhibited attitude through consuming Captain Morgan rum.
"We considered that the phrase 'CAPTAIN THE DANCE FLOOR' also implied enhanced confidence and abilities on the dance floor."
The ASA banned the advert under rules relating to responsible alcohol advertising, adding: "We concluded that the ad implied that drinking alcohol could enhance personal qualities and was therefore irresponsible. The ad must not appear again in its current form.
"We told Diageo not to imply that alcohol could enhance people's confidence."
There were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2014, according to Alcohol Concern.
The charity says more than 9m people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits, with alcohol one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, after smoking and obesity.