It might have been David Beckham riding a motorcycle, but the setting was the somber (if not sober) Scottish Highlands and not Eurodisney. The other characters looked mature and were driving vintage vehicles. The word “club” was used, not in a sense of the places young people congregate and make their bodies writhe to deafening music and bone-rattling beats, but “club” in an old fashioned sense, something your dad belongs to, where he smokes his cigars outside the house and complains about politics with other boring, old farts whose only real kicks in the last 44 years have been from Page 3 of The Sun.
Even so, the charity Alcohol Concern complained about a Diageo commercial featuring retired footballer David Beckham, because it felt the advertisement implied that drinking alcohol was essential for social acceptance, and given Beckham’s popularity in sports, the ad might drive those under the age of 18 to drink.
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Diageo insisted that the ad for its Haig Club whiskey was geared toward those over the age of 25, and said the mature actors, the dour Scottish imagery and idea of some exclusive club was a sufficient turn off for youngsters. Not to mention that Beckham has not played professional football in a decade, so he has already been your mother’s secret crush since she was in school and the object of your father’s sports nostalgia.
If Beckham automatically means “youth appeal” why is 69 year old Helen Mirren pawing at him with reckless abandon?
The Advertising Standards Authority chimed in that Beckham recently promoted Sainsbury’s Active Kids and Unicef campaigns, but this ignores the fact these promotions were aimed at adults who actually donate to these charities and not kids.
The commercial, in the end, was given the green light, but not before the group, Alcohol Concern, got more public exposure thanks to the controversy than they could ever have hoped to generate just hanging up posters at bus stops.