Booze advertisers have to walk a fine line. Sure they can show bikinis, snow-covered mountains and puppy love, but when it comes to actually drinking the product, things get a bit dicey.
In the US, the consumption of alcohol in TV commercials isn’t explicitly banned but it’s also not encouraged. Given the dangers of binge drinking, drinking and driving, under age drinking and a whole host of other issues–like how one person’s sip is another’s CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!–most brands simply just stay away from consumption in their ads. Here, Heineken and agency Wideden + Kennedy New York also decided to avoid these pitfalls and not allow pitchman Neil Patrick Harris to drink the delicious beer in his hand while on camera. Problem is, NPH doesn’t quite get what all the fuss is about.
And while the FTC defers alcohol advertising standards to industry regulators and media outlets, it turns out a group of network execs didn’t get together in a room somewhere to agree on a set of rules specifically for Neil Patrick Harris drinking beer in TV commercials.