Whisky ad showing man jumping off cliff deemed 'irresponsible'

Spot for The Macallan was created by J Walter Thompson.

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad for Scotch whisky brand The Macallan for being socially irresponsible and promoting risky or daring behaviour.

The 90-second spot, created by J Walter Thompson, depicts a man jumping from a high rocky ledge above the cloud line. After plummeting for a long distance, being tossed about as he falls, the man grows wings and is able to swoop back into the air. Towards the end, the text "Would you risk falling for the chance to fly?" appears on screen.

Six people complained that the ad, which was seen in different cuts on TV, ITV Hub and Instagram, was irresponsible and linked alcohol with daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour.

Edrington, which owns the brand, argued that the spot’s protagonist was not shown drinking alcohol. Clearcast, ITV and Instagram all told the watchdog they regarded the ad as acceptable or that it did not breach their terms.

But the ASA said the central message of the film, made explicit through its tagline, was one of "promoting risky or daring behaviour to reap possible rewards". It added that the scene could be reminiscent of base-jumping, which is considered an especially dangerous form of parachuting.

The watchdog ruled that the ad broke CAP and BCAP Code rules on social responsibility and alcohol, and ordered that they do not appear again in their current form.