Courage ad 'too strong'
crack down on humour
You can't take Courage -- that's the warning from the Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA has banned an advertisement for Courage Best Bitter that shows a man, a glass of beer and a woman in a figure-hugging dress. The slogan with the ad says "Take Courage my friend" and the implication is clear: the woman is asking the age-old question "does my bum look big in this?" and the man needs a drink to pluck up Courage to tell her the obvious.
Brewer Wells & Young's of Bedford, which bought Courage Best along with Directors from Scottish & Newcastle, says it is merely updating famous promotions for Best that ran from the 1950s to the 1980s. But the po-faced ASA pompously ruled that the poster implied the beer would give the man the confidence to make negative comments about the woman or "try to take advantage of her".
The ASA added: "Although we understood the humorous intention of the scenario, we concluded that the poster breached the code by suggesting that the beer could increase confidence".
On these grounds, all advertisements for beer and any form of alcohol should be banned. Alcohol is a relaxant. It makes the world seem a better place. It's a social lubricator. But even several pints of Courage Best wouldn't give me the courage or Courage to make derogatory remarks about my wife or her dress sense.
So, after the smoking ban, we have the humour ban. Perhaps the ASA could hire security guards to stand in pubs and warn drinkers not to smile, laugh or make jokes. Better still, perhaps pubs could have outdoor laughing shelters were drinkers can go for a fag and a cackle.
My advice to Wells & Young's is to hire Chas and Dave to stand outside the ASA head office and sing for several hours. That should bring the watchdog to its senses.