The complainants said the ad was confusing because it featured presenter Tim Lovejoy promoting the beers and was shown in the break between a food and drink programme hosted by Lovejoy.
They challenged whether it was “obviously identifiable as a marketing communication”, but the Advertising Standards Agency rejected the complaints.
While Lovejoy told viewers that beers like Carling Zest and Fosters Radler are perfect with ribs, burgers, chicken wings, text that read “This is an advertisement” appeared intermittently, for three seconds, then for five seconds and another five seconds near the end of the ad.
In a second ad, the text appeared notifying viewers it was an advertisement again for a total of 13 seconds while Lovejoy matched food with Budweiser and Fosters.
The brewers behind Let There Be Beer – AB In-Bev, Carlsberg, Heineken, Miller Brands and Molson Coors – argued that the ads did not look or sound like Lovejoy’s TV show, Sunday Brunch, because they took place in different locations and had a different tone.
The ASA agreed and said: “We noted that some viewers were concerned about the length of the ads, the fact that they used a 'programme' format and that they were hosted by one of the presenters of Sunday Brunch, Tim Lovejoy.
“We accepted that the format of the ads was similar to that of cooking programmes. However, we also noted that all the complainants had recognised that they were watching advertising content.
“While we appreciated that the ad, like the programme, was all about food and drink, we considered that unlike Sunday Brunch, all the action took place on location, there was regular use of background music, and the ads were clearly not filmed live.
“We therefore deemed the content and style of the ads sufficiently different from that of the programme for viewers to be able to distinguish between them. Because we considered that the ads were clearly identifiable as advertising material, we concluded that the ads did not breach the code.”