Chastened BrewDog bows to ASA over fresh ad ban

BrewDog1BrewDog, the company which has gone from “the trouble starter, punkin’ instigator” to bully-boy employer, has also ditched the foul-mouthed rants against the ad watchdog after being hit with yet another ban.

The latest run-in with the Advertising Standards Authority concerns a paid-for Instagram post that included an image of a can of Clean & Press Hard Seltzer, with the text: “Due to advertising regulations we cannot claim this drink is healthy.”

Further down, it stated: “Even though Clean & Press is only 90 calories per can, with no carbs or sugar and a little bit of alcohol, this is not a health drink. If you are looking for a health drink, do not drink Clean & Press.”

Five complainants reported the ad to the Advertising Standards Authority, arguing the claims implied that the drink was healthy and were therefore general health claims that were not permitted for alcoholic drinks.

In response, BrewDog was decidedly muted. Gone is the previous stance that the “ASA can go fuck themselves”, and in has come a far more conciliatory tone. The brewer said that although the claims in the ad were intended to be tongue in cheek, it accepted that they breached the Ad Code and agreed that they would not be used in future campaigns.

Nevertheless, BrewDog’s card is marked and the ASA ruled that the claims “only 90 calories per can” and “no carbs or sugar” were nutrition claims, which are not permitted for alcoholic drinks. It also ruled that the claim “a little bit of alcohol” implied that the drink was low alcohol, which would not apply to the drink, because it has an ABV of 5%.

Ruling that the ad must not appear again in its current form, the ASA concluded: “We told BrewDog plc not to make health claims, or non-permitted nutrition claims about alcoholic drinks. We also told them not to make permitted nutrition claims for alcoholic drinks if the product did not meet the associated conditions of use for the claim.”

BrewDog co-founder and chief executive James Watt was nowhere to be seen.

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