Kronenbourg’s advertising campaign starring French footballing icon Eric Cantona has been banned. The ASA investigated two separate ads for the same campaign; a TV ad and a print ad. The TV ad explained how French men were lauded like “British footballers” for growing the French sourced Strisselpalt Hop, a key ingredient of Kronenbourg. The print ad also expressed that “if you find a better tasting French beer, we’ll eat our berets”.

Two complaints suggested the ads were misleading as they imply that Kronenbourg is brewed in France, rather than the UK. Heineken, the owner of Kronenbourg, dismissed such claims by explaining that the brand ownership, history, heritage and origins made Kronenbourg an “inherently French beer” and the Strisselpalt Hop is solely sourced from Alsace, France. In addition, Kronenbourg ads had focused on its French origins for many years.

Breaching BCAP Code rules 3.1, 3.2 (misleading advertising), 3.9 (substantiation) and 3.10 (qualification), the ASA held that the TV ad’s emphasis on a connection to France was sufficient for consumers to believe the entire manufacturing and brewing process took place in France. The ASA noted that, whilst the Strisselpalt Hop is sourced from France, it does not constitute a significant proportion of the Kronenbourg recipe. The ASA also held that the print ad breached CAP Code rules 3.1, 3.3 (misleading advertising), and 3.9 (qualification), declaring that the “brewed in the UK” small print, “contradicted, rather than clarified the main message of the ad”.

Heineken has submitted an appeal. Should the ASA ruling be upheld, it may have further consequences for similar foreign brands which produce their goods (or part of them) in the UK.