Wells & Young’s has been forced to pull a series of posters advertising Courage beer after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the caption ‘Take Courage my friend’ breached its rules by implying the beer could increase confidence.

One poster, which was part of a £2m advertising campaign featured a nervous looking man with a glass of beer with a woman who was trying on a figure-hugging dress.

“We considered that the combination of a the text and the image of the man with an open beer can and half-empty glass of beer was likely to be understood by consumers to carry the clear implication that the beer would give the man enough confidence to tell the woman that the dress was unflattering,” said the ASA.

Chris Lewis, Wells & Young’s marketing director, told The Times he was surprised by the ruling.

“The advert depicts a very common situation, which our target demographic would relate to. Every man with some life experience has been in the situation where he has been asked the infamous line ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ And as every man knows, the correct response is ‘No!’”