The ad, which features a party on board an old-fashioned ship with a man who has Captain Morgan’s face superimposed onto his own instigating the party - along with the caption ‘Live like the Captain’ - was investigated by the ASA after complaints.
Alcohol Concern and a member of the public claimed the ad was irresponsible because (1) it implied drinking alcohol could contribute to an individual’s popularity or confidence, and (2) that the success of a social occasion depended on the presence or consumption of alcohol.
The first complaint was upheld by the ASA, which said: “We considered that the superimposed Captain Morgan face implied that he had already consumed the product and thus linked his confident behaviour to this consumption.
“We concluded that the ad implied that drinking alcohol could enhance personal qualities and was therefore irresponsible.”
The second complaint was investigated under the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) but not upheld, as the ASA said the ad did not imply that the general success of the party was dependent on the presence or consumption of alcohol.
Julie Bramham, European marketing director for Captain Morgan, said: “We are disappointed with the ASA’s adjudication. Whilst we are pleased that the ASA chose not to uphold part of the complaint, we disagree with their interpretation on the rest of the ruling.
“No alcohol was pictured and the Captain Morgan face was designed to represent the brand as a whole and not intended to be linked to the consumption of alcohol.”
She added: “We believe that the advert illustrated camaraderie, enjoying time with friends and living life to the full whilst taking charge of a night out and staying in control.”