Aside from being a symbol of rebellion, lawlessness and poor personal hygiene, the iconic Captain Morgan has more recently been known as the posthumous figurehead of a wildly popular brand of spiced rum.
Unfortunately for owners Diageo, a recent TV ad campaign apparently went a step too far and has been banned by the British Advertising Standards Association.
The ad itself depicts the captain in a variety of different situations, including riding a horse and hunting for treasure, all while being cheered on by his crew and a big crowd. A prominent voice over ends the advert with a statement encouraging people to “Live like the captain”.
The ASA received two complaints about the ad, one claiming the ad implied that “Drinking alcohol was a key component of social success”, and the other that it “Linked alcohol with daring, toughness and aggressive behaviour.” The first complaint was dismissed however the second was upheld, resulting in the ad being banned in the UK.
“We noted that some shots in the ad highlighted the buccaneer’s playful and on occasion provocative personality, but also noted that he was shown driving a carriage at speed, searching a cave for treasure and emerging from the sea having apparently dived from his ship,” said the ASA in a statement.
“We considered that those actions and the settings shown in the ad would be associated with buccaneers and seafarers renowned for drinking rum, and for their disregard for authority and the well-being of themselves and others.”
The ASA concluded that “The depiction of the character and his actions, especially when placed alongside the slogan “LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN”, in an ad for rum, linked alcohol with daringness and toughness.”
Diageo has refuted the complaint saying it does not believe the scenes linked drinking with aggressive behaviour, rather they “Merely showed the Captain’s skills as a buccaneer in a confident and fun manner, using stylised snapshots of his life in the 17th Century”.