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No handsome hunks for UK liquor ads

London, July 27: Has George Clooney sold his last Martini' Have we seen the last of Brad Pitt downing Heineken'

Drinks companies have been ordered to hire paunchy, balding men for advertisements to meet new rules forbidding any link between women’s drinking and sex. Watchdogs have issued a list of undesirable male characteristics which advertisers must abide by in order to comply with tougher rules designed to separate alcohol from sexual success.

Lambrini, the popular sparkling drink, is the first to suffer. Its manufacturers have complained after watchdogs rejected its latest campaign because it depicted women flirting with a man who was deemed too attractive.

The Committee of Advertising Practice declared: “We consider that the advert is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls. If the man was clearly unattractive, we think that this implication would be removed.”

The new code instructs that “links must not be made between alcohol and seduction, sexual activity or sexual success”. Romance and flirtation are not forbidden but adverts must not be aimed at the under-18s or use celebrities in “sexy” or “cool” manner.

The measure could affect George Clooney’s '2.5-million deal to advertise Martini. The similarly desirable Brad Pitt reportedly earned '4 million for his recent Heineken advert.

Lambrini’s makers complained the ruling was offensive to a large tranche of the male population. Are Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Sean Connery and Ray Winstone unattractive to women, the company asked.

John Halewood, Lambrini owner, said: “The watchdog makes some very understandable rulings to encourage sensible drinking but we’re not sure they’re qualified to decide for the nation who’s sexy and who’s not. Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.”

Lambrini has now recreated its advert employing a balding, male figure whose lack of pulchritude has proved acceptable to the watchdog.

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