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Sep. 22nd, 2011

Only in recent years have drinks companies even begun to acknowledge that there might be a downside to their product, with “drink responsibly” taglines in print and helpline numbers appearing on cinema adverts, and none have yet openly tackled the problem of alcoholism. So congratulations are due to Carling for finally tackling this taboo in their poignant new TV spot.


The ad features a man sitting on a train, thinking only about his next drink. Everything he sees from the window has associations with his own experiences—an unnamed woman, games of football, gigs he has attended—which, in turn, he can view only through the prism of his addiction. The beer he is anticipating he envisions in bright colour, while his experiences are all portrayed in black and white, perhaps because they are tinged with regret; who knows what domestic or sporting violence he has been responsible for while drunk? Finally he escapes the train (does he even stay on the train till his intended stop? This is left ambiguous) and slopes off guiltily and alone to the first visible place where he can feed his addiction without suffering the judgment of others. It's a sad and accurate portrait of a lonely and ultimately debilitating illness, and Carling should be commended for raising awareness of it.

At least, I'm presuming this is what they were intending.


Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
L Here
I was ready to roll my eyes at your analysis of alcohol advertising as I have many times (always when we'd had a few drinks...mmmmm). But wow! That drives a Coach & Horses through the Portman group (self) regulations.

Over the years I've had endless discussions with clients and advertisers and I can never recall any of them trying to break the rules of not showing health/life benefits of drinking. It's usually one of the most tortuous parts of researching booze ads is making sure it's all fun without being too fun. That will be taken off air I can almost guarantee.
Sep. 22nd, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: L Here
Actually, I'm enjoying (and slightly jealous of) chiller's idea that all the stuff in black and white never actually happened and all he ever does is nurse a sorry pint in the pub instead of getting on with any kind of life. Perhaps that's the defence they're looking to reach for when the ASA comes knocking.
Sep. 22nd, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Re: L Here
> your analysis of... advertising

Said it before, will say it again: tell me what the product does. Don't pretend it's my saviour or my friend.

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