The ad watchdog has confirmed it is investigating a BrewDog outdoor campaign, which carries the strapline “Sober as a motherfu”, following a raft of complaints that the posters are both offensive and have been placed near schools.
The campaign, for alcohol-free IPA Punk AF, has been devised by Uncommon Creative Studio and only launched on Monday. Media was planned by Craft Media.
In one tweet, which has been widely shared, a parent said she was greeted with the ad near her daughter’s primary school. “Just arrived outside my daughter’s primary school. Just why.”
The Advertising Standards Authority confirmed it is currently investigating following at least two dozen complaints over both the content and placement of the ads and will publish its decision in due course, although this can take months.
The Scottish company, whose brands include the likes of Trashy Blonde, Dead Pony Club and Hardcore NZ, has been uncharacteristically quiet over the issue.
It is likely to be only a matter of time, however. Back in 2013, when the ASA upheld a complaint against the foul language used on its website, including the phrase “BrewDog is a post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery” the brewer’s response was unequivocal.
It hit back: “We have thousands of craft beer fans who have invested in what we do and how we do it – they are the people we listen to – not the killjoy, self-important pen pushers at the ASA in their Burton suits. Those mother fuckers don’t have any jurisdiction over us anyway.”
Twelve months later, it accused the Portman Group of treating beer drinkers like “brain-dead zombies” after the drinks watchdog ruled that the brewer’s Dead Pony Club pale ale was in breach of the alcohol marketing code.
At the time, BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “On behalf of BrewDog PLC and its individual shareholders, I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a shit about today’s ruling. Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say, and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance.”
“Unfortunately, the Portman Group is a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants…they treat beer drinkers like brain dead zombies and vilify creativity and competition.”