TV whisky ad featuring man leaping from cliff banned for encouraging 'daring behaviour'


As he fell, it cut to text saying: “Would you risk falling … for the chance to fly?”. After the winged denouement, the end frame added: “The Macallan. Make the call”, which was accompanied by an image of a glass of whisky.

The ad was cleared for broadcast by TV regulator Clearcast, who considered its “treatment fantastical enough to be acceptable”, as well as ITV, who described it as “detached from reality and grotesque”. Instagram said the ad did not violate its policies.  

Edrington Distillers said that the ‘Make The Call’ line was used to describe the brand’s philosophy.

The company also said the ad depicted a “fantastical story” about a man who “took a big decision” and was “eventually rewarded”.   

The ASA acknowledged some aspects of the ad were “fantastical” but considered the scene “reminiscent of the extreme sport of base-jumping”. The Authority also noted that there was no suggestion the man had “superhuman powers”.

The ASA concluded: “We considered that the act of jumping off the cliff was very dangerous, potentially fatal, and consisted of extreme risk-taking behaviour. That impression was compounded by the text.”

“Although the character was not seen consuming alcohol at any point, we considered the ads made a clear association between an alcoholic product and potentially very dangerous, daring behaviour and concluded that they were irresponsible.”

A spokesperson for The Macallan said: “The Macallan co-operated fully with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in response to a small number of complaints about our brand’s global awareness campaign. Prior to launching the campaign, we worked closely with the relevant bodies including Clearcast, ITV and Instagram who all deemed the campaign 100% acceptable.

“In light of the ASA ruling, we have acted to address their concerns and removed the campaign film from relevant channels accessible by the UK audience. As phase one of the campaign is now complete, we will take onboard the ruling as we plan for next phase of the campaign.

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


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