The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) has upheld complaints about a Budweiser ad campaign featuring Conor McGregor.
The complaints related to Budweiser's 'Dream Big' competition, fronted by the MMA star.
Two people complained, one saying that the advertising was irresponsible and inappropriate because it linked a role model for children to an alcohol product.
The other complaint suggested that the advertisement conflicted with 9.5(e) of the ASAI Code which states that advertisements “should not link in any way the presence or consumption of alcohol to aggressive, unruly, irresponsible or anti-social behaviour.”
The advertisers said that the Budweiser product had not appeared at any stage during the course of their advertising nor had Conor McGregor been seen to consume or interact with the brand.
In terms of placing their advertising featuring Conor McGregor, the advertisers said it only aired on channels and during programmes which had an overwhelming adult audience.
The ASAI agreed that no aggression was portrayed in the advertising nor indeed was there any overt reference to the sport of MMA.
However, the other complaint was upheld by the Committee, having regard to McGregor's profile, considered that he is a hero of the young for the purpose of clause 9.7(c) of the ASAI Code.
It concluded, therefore, that the advertising was currently in breach of the Code and should not be used in the same format again.
Complaints were also upheld against eir, Powercity, LowFlo and Three Ireland Ltd.
“Our approach is to work with advertisers rather than against them to ultimately ensure that all marketing communications are truthful, decent and honest,” said Orla Twomey, chief executive of the ASAI.
“The ASAI provide a free and confidential copy advice service to advertisers, agencies and media members to help them create responsible ads.
“If an advertiser has any concerns relating to any future campaign they feel may be in breach of the ASAI’s Code, they can contact us and avail of the free and confidential copy advice service.”