Whisky advert banned for featuring man jumping off a cliff

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
The banned whisky advert was deemed “dangerous” by the ASA. [Photo: Edrington]

A whisky advert featuring a man jumping off a cliff has been banned for promoting “risk-taking” behaviour.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Britain’s advertising regulator, has ruled the advert can no longer appear in the UK, following a number of complaints.

The advert, for Macallan whisky, features a man leaping off a cliff and falling towards the ground.

As he falls, he begins to grow wings, which allow him to fly upwards before he hits the ground below. The text on screen asks, “Would you risk falling … for the chance to fly?”.

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Later, it cuts to a picture of the whisky with the slogan: “The Macallan. Make the call”.

The advertisement was circulated on television, video on demand and Instagram during December last year, as part of the brand’s first global campaign.

However, it was challenged by six complainants, who suggested the adverts were “irresponsible and linked alcohol with daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour”.

Edrington Distillers, who own The Macallan, challenged the ban, responding to complainants that the advert featured a “fantastical winged man” and that the behaviour was “removed from the real world.

However, the ASA contested this, saying: “We noted that at that point in the ads, there was no suggestion that the male character had any super-human attributes or powers, or that he was part of a mythical world”.

The ASA also claimed the scenes in the advert were reminiscent of base-jumping, an extreme sport which involves jumping from buildings and mountains wearing a parachute or wingsuit.

The ban has therefore been upheld. Edrington Distillers have been told the advert cannot appear again in its current form in the UK. They have also been instructed “not link alcohol with daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour” in future advertising.

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“The overall theme of the global campaign is about bold decision making and targeting a new generation of luxury consumers,” said a spokesperson for The Macallan.

“This will continue to be the focus of the global campaign, though we will of course take on board the ASA’s comments in relation to the film elements in the UK market as we develop the campaign in the future.”

Earlier this year, the ASA banned an “irresponsible” lip fillers advert for presenting the procedure as something parents “should support” their children with.

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