Outspoken UFC superstar Conor McGregor is causing controversy once again, after an ‘inspirational’ advert he starred in was banned for what many people across the internet are calling a ridiculous reason.
I’m Kevin O’Hara for alcoholmastery.com.
Now, Conor McGregor, a controversial UFC fighter from Dublin, Ireland is involved in yet another controversy. Let me say that I’m a fan, both of UFC and McGregor. I love watching him fighting and I love all his antics pre and post match. After being defeated in his most recent bout to Nate Diaz, McGregor has appeared in an advert for Budweiser beer. The advert is called “Dream Big” and features McGregor giving a motivational speech as he walks around the streets of Dublin and then LA. In the short video, which I’ll link to below, McGregor talks about never giving up on what you dream, he tells you to be your own inspiration, a beacon of self-belief. He says that if your dream doesn’t scare you then it’s not big enough. At the end of the ad, McGregor prompts you to dream as big as you dare.
These words are very uplifting and should encourage young people. But at the end of the ad, of course there is the link to alcohol in the form of a big Budweiser emblem across McGregor’s back. Ireland’s national TV station has banned the ad saying that it breaches advertising regulations. These codes, which have been recently brought into Ireland, state that alcohol marketing should not refer to or include any ‘heroes of the young.’ Even though McGregor doesn’t actually drink in the ad, nor does he go to the pub, RTE felt that McGregor fell into this category.
A spokesperson for RTE said “RTE, as a compliant media, has sought a view from the ASAI,[Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland]. That view has now been given that the advertising breaches section 9.7 of the ASAI Code. This complies with RTE’s initial view that the advertisement should not be broadcast and believes it took the correct and prudent action in not approving the commercials for broadcast on it’s Television services.”
A spokesperson for Budweiser said,
“Conor is an aspirational figure for people who wish to follow their dreams and ambitions. Based on independent statistics research, Conor McGregor has an overwhelming adult appeal.”
I have to say fair play to RTE for taking the decision to pull this ad. McGregor is doing it for the money, pure and simple. Budweiser is linking McGregor’s name to their brand of alcohol to get more people drinking more of their brand, which ultimately equates to making more money. And I’m sure RTE would have made a ton of money from airing the ad. So fair dues to them. He has a huge following in Ireland and I think that this is the reason the ad has been banned. It sends out a good message to people like McGregor and others like him.
Sporting heroes should think more about what they are promoting and who is likely to get hurt in the long run. For a TV station in McGregor’s home country to ban this ad, should set alarm bells ringing in his head. While I’ve nothing against sports people making money from advertising, I wish they’d think about the wider consequences of their actions. McGregor is massively popular among the younger audiences, not only in Ireland, but in many other parts of the world, which is why he’s being featured in the ad.
I’m sure Budweiser are going to say that they are promoting the wider message to ‘Dream Big’. But they know that the association will be made between dreaming big, achieving big things, Conor McGregor and consuming Budweiser beer. Kids look up to people like McGregor , that’s just a fact. Appearing in an ad for any alcohol encourages alcohol use in those who watch it. That’s the only reason the ad is being made. So my message to McGregor is be very careful about what you are saying, about the type of thing you are promoting. People are listening. Young people are listening. And they are acting on what you are saying, creating their life long behaviours based upon what you are saying.
At the end of the day, alcohol is a destructive and debilitating drug. The message that Big Alcohol is trying to create is that alcohol is a normal part of our everyday lives and therein lies the problem. No matter how big you dream, if let alcohol take a normal part in your life, you will never reach your true capabilities. Your dreams will stay just that, dreams. No matter how big you dream, the only people who are making their dreams come true in this instance are McGregor himself and Big Alcohol.
Let me know what you think about this in the comments. Do you have any opinions? Do you think RTE was right to ban the ad? Do you think McGregor was right to appear in the ad? What do you think about sporting stars appearing in alcohol adverts in the general?
Until next time, I’m Kevin O’Hara for alcoholmastery.com, Onwards and Upwards!
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!