Recently in Shepherd Neame Spitfire Ale adverts Category

The Advertising Standards Authority has finally published their Adjudication on the the offensive Nazi Shepherd Neame Spitfire Ale advert in the Evening Standard newspaper.

Despite a preliminary recommendation to the contrary, the ASA Council have decided that the advert did not breach their CAP Code, the voluntary British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing.

However, Shepherd Neame do appear to have promised not to repeat the advert, which is, in effect, all that would have happened if the ASA had found against them, since this is a voluntary Code of Practice, which is only enforced by "naming and shaming" the offenders, with no legal sanctions.

The Daily Telegraph wrongly misattributed our comments on this blog about this affair to Ken Livingstone, who does not need anyone else to put words into his mouth, whilst he is also putting his foot in it.

Non-broadcast Adjudication about Shepherd Neame Ltd. published on 1st March 2006:

The controversial brewers Shepherd Neame seem to be trying to be too clever by half, in their latest advert in the London Evening Standard for their mediocre Spitfire Ale.

Placed in exactly the same spot on the back page, directly under the Quick Crossword and the Sudoku puzzle, this latest attempt at humour
appears to make a cryptic reference to their similarly placed and very offensive Nazi "--SS" advert, for which they are awaiting a non-broadcast adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The slogan reads:"Gott in himmel, ve vill never break ziz code."

However, to the left of this mildly blasphemous oath (how is it appropriate or tasteful to invoke "God in Heaven" in order to advertise beer ?) is an upward pointing arrow symbol, (white with drop shadows). This symbol which was presumably deliberatly chosen, looks like another Nazi runic symbol used by the SS and by todays racist and white supremecist groups and individuals, as well as by some non-racist pagans: the Tyr Rune, named after a Norse god of battle and warfare.

Does the "ve vill never break ziz code" refer to the Advertising Standards Aurhority's Committee of Advertising Practice Code clause 5.1 (Decency) ?

DECENCY (ie avoiding serious or widespread offence)


Marketing communications should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Compliance with the Code will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards of decency.

This Tyr rune is far more obscure than the double Sig rune SS symbol which the previous advert carried, and is only likely to offend neo-nazis and racists who object to being associated with weak, warm, bland, mediocre Spitfire Ale,

Why can't Shepherd Neame actually use Spitfire aeroplane symbols in their adverts ?

N.B. there are plenty of other British beers which are superior to Spitfire Ale.

Do journalists actually read the blogs which they quote from ?

It seems that the Daily Telegraph did not bother to read the clear statements on this website that it pre-dates even the referendum , let alone the creation of the office of Mayor of London etc., when they quoted from our blog entry: Nazi SS Shepherd Neame beer advert in the Evening Standard published on Deceember 16th 2005.

The Daily Telegraph via Tim Worstall:

'Spitfire' brewery shot down over advert

By David Sapsted
(Filed: 30/01/2006)

The brewery that raised both smiles and hackles for poking fun at Germans in a string of adverts has mentioned the war once too often.

In a newspaper last month, they ran the advert with a crossword-like clue that read: "German lager (4)". The answer had the last two filled in with letters "SS" in the lightning bolt shapes of the Schutz Staffel.

Quite apart from the obvious, crude answer to the clue - itself surprising because Shepherd Neame brews Holsten Export under licence at its Faversham brewery - it led to complaints being lodged with the authority.

Mr Livingstone, who had his own problems with the London Evening Standard after comparing a reporter to a concentration camp guard, branded the advert "astonishingly evil".

"The use of Nazi genocide symbols to advertise a mediocre beer is insulting to the victims of the SS and to present-day Germans," added the mayor on his web log.

That quotation was not written by Ken Livingstone, who, so far as we can tell, does not write a weblog - he has a whole taxpayer funded propaganda machine, a newspaper and the website, which does not have any public comments section.

The Daily Telegraph have also "jumped the gun" on the official decision of the Advertising Standards Authority, which may very well find against the the advert. We are in receipt of a preliminary recommendation on a decison by the Advertising Standards Authority, on our compaint, along with those of several other people,

However, the ASA have not yet actually made a decison and published their official Adjudication, which they normally do on a Wednesday.

(click on this image for a larger version)

This astonishingly evil advertisment appeared on the back page of the Evening Standard newspaper, underneath the Quick Crossword and Sudoku puzzles on Thursday 15tth December 2005.

At the bottom left is the website URL. On the right is a graphic of a beer pump with a Spitfire badge. All well and good so far.

Just to left of the beer pump badge is the slogan "A bottle of Britain", an obvious pun on the the "Battle of Britain" and "Spitfire" references which have been a theme in the advertising of this beer for several years, in a spurious attempt to cash in on the heroism of others.

However, in the middle of the advert, presumably to tie in with the crossword puzzle direcly above is a fake "crossword clue":

"_ _ SS"
"German lager (4)

Incredibly, the "SS" is not even in roman characters, but uses the double lighting bolt symbol of the Nazi SS - the Schutz Staffel, who were Hitler's bodyguards and who went on to run the Nazi extermination camps and commit other warcrimes and genocide !

This is utterly unnacceptable as an advert -

  1. The use of unambiguously Nazi genocide symbols to advertise a mediocre British beer, is insulting to the victims of the SS and to present day Germans.

    Shepherd Neame, their advertising agency and the Evening Standard are to blame for this disgrace, and they should all apologise in public.

    Ideally they should donate some money towards a Holocaust education charity, and send the "creatives" and management responsible on a Holocaust awareness training course.

  2. It casts an unwarranted aspersion on German lager, which, despite Shepherd Neame's claims is regulated by the Reinheitsgebot German Beer Purity Law of 1516 i.e. hops, malt, yeast and water and nothing else.

    Even if Nazi SS symbols had not been used, and a normal double S had been used instead, the distasteful implication is still that "German lager" equates to PISS i.e. urine.

  3. It belittles the memory of the Battle of Britain pilots, aircrew and Spitfire aeroplane manufacturing workers - what has a 21st century beer (which only has a "history" back to 1990) got to do with them anyway ?

The Advertising Standards Agency must issue some advice to the UK Advertising industry and to the media, that , with the World Cup finals to be played in Germany next year, this sort of Nazi Germany / Genocide advertising is utterly wrong.

The ASA's record on censuring previous Shepherd Neame adverts using the word "nazi" is abysmal., According to their 2003 annual report (.pdf), despite 98 complaints, they did not even bother to investigate.

There should be some humour about World War 2, but this advert is not funny.

Given the current row involving the Evening Standard and Ken Livingstone over his "concentration camp guard" (i.e. the Nazi SS) insults against one of their Jewish reporters, one would have expected the Evening Standard newspaper to have exercised some common sense and to have rejected this stupid and evil advert.

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