ASA, the Advertising Standards Authority, ruled the Macallan’s advert in the Make the Call campaing as irresponsible. They deemed the opening seen was ”… reminiscent of the extreme sport of base jumping”.
The Macallan argued the campaign was to be seen as a ”fantastical story” and it did not link alcohol with ”bravery, daring or toughness”.
ASA revealed they had received six complaints since Make the Call was launched in December 2018.
”The ASA noted that the opening scene in all versions of the ad featured the man running and jumping off a cliff, and considered that could be seen as being reminiscent of the extreme sport of base-jumping. 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; we considered the scenery featured was a typical mountainous landscape. We noted that in ads (b) and (c) the character was seen peering over the edge of the cliff and there was a close-up of him clenching his fists. We considered that gave the impression that he was nervous about jumping and was building up the courage to do so. In that context, 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 “Would you risk falling … for the chance to fly?”.
Whilst we acknowledged that some elements of the ad were fantastical, such as the distance the man fell through the clouds, and the sprouting of wings which enabled him to fly away instead of hitting the ground, we considered, nevertheless, that the central message of the ad, which was explicitly highlighted through the tagline “Would you risk falling … for the chance to fly?”, was one of promoting risky or daring behaviour to reap possible rewards. 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 they had cooperated fully and ”… we will take onboard the ruling as we plan for next phase of the campaign.”.
He continued: ”The overall theme of the global campaign is about bold decision-making and targeting a new generation of luxury campaign.”