Budweiser Ad Banned Because Featured UFC Fighter Is Too Much Of A Hero

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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A Budweiser commercial featuring the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight star Conor McGregor has been banned because he’s a hero to young people.

Ireland’s advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), decided McGregor’s status as a hero to kids, especially boys, meant the ad cannot be shown, Business Insider reports.

The ad shows the Featherweight Champion walking through the streets of Dublin narrating a speech for a competition called “Dream Big,” which offers contestants the chance to win $55,000 to travel to America and fulfill their dreams.

“Never give up on your dream. Be your own inspiration. A beacon of self-belief,” says McGregor. But after just two complaints the ASAI decided to take action.

The complaints alleged McGregor’s status as a hero to young people meant the ad was irresponsible and inappropriate. The ASAI’s code forbids children’s role models from promoting alcohol.

“The Committee, having regard to Conor McGregor’s status as World Champion and profile, considered that he is a hero of the young for the purpose of clause 9.7(c) of the Code,” said the ASAI in a statement. They concluded, therefore, that the advertising was currently in breach of Sections 9.1, and 9.7(c) of the Code.”

One of the complaints which argued the ad linked Mixed Martial Arts to alcohol and was, therefore, sending a dangerous message to kids was dismissed. “They (ASAI) did not, however, consider that the content of the advertising had linked the presence or consumption of alcohol to aggressive, unruly, irresponsible or anti-social behaviour in this case.”

For its part, Budweiser rejected the claim McGregor was “identifiable hero of the young.” The company also argued the ad “only aired on channels and during programmes which had an overwhelming adult audience for both traditional and digital media channels.”

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