‘Socially irresponsible’ Macallan Make the Call whisky advert banned

A television advert for Scotch whisky brand Macallan that featured a man jumping off a cliff has been banned for linking alcohol with daring feats.

Published 10th Apr 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The ad for the single malt was branded “socially irresponsible” by watchdogs who said it promoted risky behaviour.

The 90-second film titled “Make The Call” showed a bare-chested man jumping off a cliff and transforming into a bird as he falls to the ground.

As he approached the ground he disappeared from view behind a mountainside and then reappeared and started to fly upwards as his wings were fully grown.

The video ended with an image of Macallan in a glass and featured the tagline: “Would you risk falling for the chance to fly?”

Six people complained to advertising watchdogs after viewing the advert on ITV and Instagram in December and challenged whether it linked alcohol with “daring, toughness or irresponsible behaviour”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now banned the advert and said it breached rules on alcohol promotion.

The ASA said: “The ASA noted that the opening scene in all versions of the ad featured the man running and jumping off a cliff, and considered that could be seen as being reminiscent of the extreme sport of base-jumping.

“The character was seen peering over the edge of the cliff and there was a close-up of him clenching his fists. We considered that gave the impression that he was nervous about jumping and was building up the courage to do so.

“In that context, we considered that the act of jumping off the cliff was very dangerous, potentially fatal, and consisted of extreme risk-taking behaviour.

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“Whilst we acknowledged that some elements of the ad were fantastical, such as the distance the man fell through the clouds, and the sprouting of wings which enabled him to fly away instead of hitting the ground, we considered, nevertheless, that the central message of the ad was one of promoting risky or daring behaviour to reap possible rewards.”

Edrington Distillers, who own Banffshire-based Macallan, said the line “Make The Call” was used globally to describe the brand’s philosophy and the story was simply a metaphor about making decisions.

They said the advert featured a fantastical story about a man who took a big decision, found it difficult along the way, but was eventually rewarded.

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