For more than 50 years beer drinkers have been urged to “Take Courage” at their local bar, but now the brewers of the famous ale may have to find a new slogan after the advertising watchdog banned posters promoting the brand.
The Advertising Standards Authority acted after complaints that the posters — part of a nearly $3 million campaign — implied that the beer could live up to its name.
One poster depicts a man looking nervous as his fullbottomed partner parades in front of him in a figure-hugging dress. A speech bubble emanating from a large glass of beer states: “Take Courage my friend,” suggesting that he should give a truthful answer to the implied question about how the garment reflected the size of the woman’s derrière.
The advertising authority said in its ruling: “Three members of the public believed the poster implied that the beer would give the man confidence to either make negative comments on the woman’s appearance or take advantage of her.
“We considered that the combination of the text and the image of the man with an open beer can and half-empty glass of beer was likely to be understood by consumers to carry the clear implication that the beer would give the man enough confidence to tell the woman that the dress was unflattering.
Chris Lewis, the company's marketing director, said that he was surprised by the ruling. “The advert depicts a very common situation, which our target demographic would relate to, and there is certainly no indication that our ‘hero’ would say anything ‘negative’ to his partner or ‘take advantage of her’,” he said.
“Every man with some life experience has been in the situation where they have been asked the infamous line, ‘Does my bottom look big in this?’ And as every man in Britain knows, the correct response is ‘No!’ ”