For more than 50 years the ''Take Courage'' line of a famous brand of ale has urged beer drinkers in Britain to do exactly that i.e. drink the Courage brand of beer. But the company may have to think of a new slogan following the Advertising Standards Authority ruling that the company's £2-million campaign falls foul of advertising codes.
The authority acting on complaints ruled that the line implied that the beer could live up to its name.
In one campaign poster a man who is looking nervous as his full-bottomed partner struts about in a figure-hugging dress is asked by a speech-bubble emanating out of a large glass of beer to – ''Take Courage, my friend''. The implication is that the man give a truthful answer to the natural question about how the garment reflected the size of the woman's rear.
The advertising authority said that it considered the combination of the text and the image of the man with an open beer can and a half-empty glass of beer would likely have the consumer believe that the drink would give the man enough courage to tell his partner that her dress was unflattering.
It said though the humorous intention of the scenario was not lost on them, they concluded the poster breached the code by its suggestion that the beer could increase confidence.
After the advertising rules were tightened in 2005 over binge drinking concerns, under Section 56.8 of the Code of Advertising, marketing of alcoholic drinks that suggest therapeutic qualities or change of mood or enhancement of confidence, mental or physical capabilities or performance as a result of imbibing the drink is not allowed.
Though the ruling relates only to a specific poster, industry observers maintain that it would make it difficult for the Take Courage slogan to survive.
Other posters on similar lines too urge the nervous man to Take Courage. One shows him with his grandmother who has knitted him an unfashionable jumper. In another he is shown in a doctor's surgery about to undergo a rectal examination.
The beer owners Wells & Young's Brewing Company, said it would go ahead with the campaign till it had exhausted the posters.
Chris Lewis, marketing director said the ruling surprised him. He said the advert depicts a very common situation that their target audiences could easily connect to and there was nothing in the advertisement suggesting that the 'hero' would say anything 'to his partner' or 'take advantage of her','' he said.
He added that such situations are part of every man's life experience in which he is asked his verdict on how his partner's bum looked and as every man in Britain knew, the correct response was no!