The full version of Heineken's The Legend - The Final ad, banned by the ASA

A Heineken TV ad has been given the red card by advertising watchdogs for showing people drinking at a football stadium.

Football supporters have not been allowed to drink alcohol in their seats since the mid-1980s, but the ad showed a man and a woman clinking two bottles of Heineken together at the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium after the man travelled there from a remote island.

The Advertising Standards Authority received a total of 17 complaints about the ad: some because it appeared to condone or encourage the consumption of alcohol in a football stadium within sight of the pitch; and others because it condoned or encouraged people to take glass bottles into a football stadium, which is not permitted.

Heineken claimed the humorous and unrealistic tone of the ad, which featured a man swimming to catch a plane, entertaining border guards and arriving at the front of the stadium by helicopter, meant viewers would infer the ad was showing one person’s fantasy of how they got to the big final.

The brewer said that, while it acknowledged and understood the rules regarding alcohol consumption at UK football stadia, it did not believe the ad was socially irresponsible or breached the advertising code.

Advertising trade body Clearcast, which helps advertisers ensure their ads comply with the code, also said it did not believe the ad was irresponsible, adding that it felt there was some room for allowing it to be shown in terms of creative licence.

However, the ASA found that the ad implied the man and his companion were going to consume the beer during the football match and that the ad was not obviously fantastical throughout since it depicted a real event at a well-known and recognisable stadium.

It ruled the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.