Irish ban Guinness ad

'Volcano' commercial wrongly promotes beer as 'source of power'

Oct 23, 2002 - The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has ruled that three popular television beer commercials must be changed or no longer televised.


One of the advertisements is for Guinness, is used around the world, and attracted the most complaints. Filmed in Poland, the ad depicts a village hit by a volcanic eruption, in which a bare-footed man walks across a river of lava to rescue pints of Guinness from the local bar.

The commercial was designed to illustrate the brewery's current slogan: "Believe".

The ASAI ruled in favor of a complainant who felt the drink was being wrongly promoted as a "source of power." Acknowledging the advertisers' defense that the lava-walking occurred on the way to the bar, and the man was by implication sober at the time, the ASAI nevertheless upheld the complaint.

Guinness said it was "very concerned" at the potential loss of the commercial on Irish television but added that it would comply.

The authority cited five separate complaints about the volcano sequence, including a claim that it insulted the real victims of natural disasters. Guinness said the ad, which is used globally, had not attracted criticism anywhere else.

The other offending ads include the one for Carlsberg in which a group of males enjoy the view of female builder's cleavage on a nearby construction site, and one for Coors Light featuring a late-night game among drinkers in which the loser has to lick a dirty sock.

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