Heineken says sorry after accidentally using teetotal clergyman in Bulmers ad

Heineken has apologised after using an image of a teetotal Victorian clergyman who helped alcoholics, in an ad for its Bulmers cider.

Bulmers: used wrong clergyman in ad
Bulmers: used wrong clergyman in ad

The press ad for the cider brand, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, tells the story of Reverend Charles H. Bulmer, who provided his sons Percy and Fred with a loan to support the family business more than 120 years ago.

However, the black and white image used in the ad is of Hugh Price Hughes, a teetotal Methodist who dedicated himself to helping alcoholics, and not Bulmer.

The mistake came to light after a member of the public, Reverend Val Reid, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. Rev Reid’s ministry is the Hinde Street Methodist Church, which was founded by Hughes.

Heineken apologised to Rev Reid and said it "fully appreciated the distress caused" by using the wrong image.

In a statement, the brewer said: "Whilst we take great care to ensure that our marketing is accurate and complies fully with the guidelines that govern alcohol advertising, we very occasionally make a mistake and our investigation revealed this to be the case.

"Our advertising agency created the press advertisement as one of a series of ads highlighting the history of HP Bulmer Ltd. After a search of our archives had failed to produce an image of Revd. Bulmer (the father of the founding brothers Percy and Fred), the agency turned to a reputable image bank for a photograph that was intended to be indicative of the period.

"Regrettably, an image of the Reverend Hugh Price Hughes was supplied in error."

The ASA will be taking no action, having been assured by Heineken that the ad will not run again in its current form.

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