Whisp Drinks breaches ad watchdog code again

A Whisp Drinks Instagram post has been banned by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for encouraging excessive drinking and implying that alcohol is indispensable.

The post, which was seen on the hard seltzer brand’s Instagram account on November 8 2021, read: “Not sure when to crack open a Whisp? With 4% ABV, think of it as the same as drinking a beer - we're for anytime you need a drink. Drink one, and it's a refreshing and relaxing can. Drink loads, and you will get drunk. The only difference - you'll be hungover from a beer, but you won't with Whisp.”

The complainant challenged the claim that Whisp’s products could prevent a hangover, while ASA debated whether the post was irresponsible for implying that “alcohol might be indispensable” while encouraging excessive drinking. Whisp removed the post, but declined to comment on the complaint. 

The CAP code prohibits claims that a food or drink could prevent, treat or cure human disease, including the symptoms associated with a hangover. It also rules that ads must be “socially responsible” by containing no content that could lead consumers to “adopt styles of drinking that were unwise.” 

As the post implied that the product “could prevent a hangover”, ASA ruled that Whisp had breached Code. It also ruled that Whisp’s use of the phrase “need a drink” suggested that “alcohol might be indispensable and that it could overcome problems”, thus breaching Code. 

The post’s comparison to beer was scrutinised, with ASA noting that the only nutrition claims that could be made in relation to alcohol were low or reduced alcohol. ASA also found that the claim that a product had “as much” of a nutrient as another food or drink was not authorised on the nutrition and health claims register, meaning that Whisp’s comparison to beer breached Code.

ASA concluded that the ad must not appear again. Whisp Drinks was told not to imply that its products could prevent a hangover, or that alcohol was indispensable. 

Whisp Drinks recently came under fire for a TikTok influencer ad that was banned by ASA for encouraging excessive drinking and making non-permitted nutrition claims. The ad was later removed from the social media platform.

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