The current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor may spend his evenings savagely beating up rivals in the ring but he is also a “hero of the young,” according to the Irish ad regulator.
As a result of McGregor’s heroic status, a Budweiser ad starring the fighter has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI.)
Alcohol cannot be promoted by heroes and heroines to young people, according to ASAI’s code.
The ad, called “Dream Big,” shows the mixed martial artist strolling through Dublin, while he narrates an inspirational speech.
The ASAI upheld two complaints that it was irresponsible for the children’s role model to be linked to “advertising for an alcohol product alongside the invitation to enter a competition and ‘Dream Big.'”
Major Irish TV network RTE had already refused to broadcast the ad in March because it believed it breached ASAI guidelines, according to The Times, where we first spotted the story.
“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,” the ASAI said in a statement.
The ASAI therefore concluded that the ad is “in breach” of the code and banned it from being aired “in the same format” in future.
In its defence, Budweiser had denied that McGregor was an “identifiable hero of the young” and said that the ad “only aired on channels and during programmes which had an overwhelming adult audience for both traditional and digital media channels”.
A second complaint which said that the ad linked violent sport to alcohol was dismissed by the ASAI because “there was no aggression portrayed in the advertising nor indeed was there any overt reference to the sport.”
See the ad below:
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