The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints alleging that a recent advertisement for Heineken beer “condoned or encouraged the consumption of alcohol in a football stadium within sight of the pitch, which was an illegal activity,” and “condoned or encouraged people to take glass bottles into a football stadium, which was not permitted.” The TV commercial in question apparently featured a man traveling to the UEFA Champions League final game, where he and a woman were shown taking a seat in view of the field and “clinking the two bottles of Heineken together in a celebratory fashion.” Although Heineken UK Ltd. described the ad as a “light-hearted” and “tongue-in-cheek” fantasy, ASA ultimately agreed with complainants that the final scene implied that the main characters “were going to consume beer during the football match.”

“We considered that the ad could give the impression to viewers that such behavior, which was either illegal (in the case of consuming alcohol) or not permitted (in the case of bringing glass bottles into the stadium), was acceptable when that was not the case, and there was a risk that viewers could attempt to copy that behavior,” said the agency, which concluded that the ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (social responsibility), 1.3 (legality) and 4.9 (harm and offense). “We therefore concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible, because it condoned or encouraged behavior that was either illegal or not permitted.”