Five drinks brands fall foul of ASA rules

Five drinks brands have come under fire for breaching the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) CAP code.

Two of the five brands, Ramsay’s Gin by Eden Mill Distillery and Tennent’s Lager, were penalised for making nutrition claims that are “not permitted for alcoholic drinks”. 

Tennent’s described its product as “Scotland’s lowest calorie lager”, while Ramsay’s Gin claimed one of its ingredients - honeyberries - contained “more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, [and] more vitamin C than oranges”. 

The CAP Code required that the only permitted nutrition claims that could be made in relation to alcohol were “low alcohol”, “reduced alcohol” and “reduced energy”. Both rulings were upheld, with ASA declaring that neither of the ads can appear again.

Elsewhere, an Instagram post for Smokehead Whisky by Ian Macleod Distillers was challenged by ASA for linking “alcohol with driving” and depicting an “an activity or location in which drinking would be unsafe”.

The post showed a woman dressed in work overalls standing in front of a car with an open bonnet. The accompanying text stated “Working hard or hardly working?”, with ASA ruling that the ad breached code for alluding to drinking in a “working environment” while also linking alcohol to driving.

Another whisky brand, Chivas Regal, owned by Pernod Ricard, had a series of adverts contested by the ASA on two counts of “irresponsible” marketing. The adverts were challenged for featuring someone who was or seemed to be under 25-years-old, and for implying that alcohol could “enhance mental or physical capabilities; for example, by contributing to professional achievements”.

The ads, which showed “music artists talking about their careers and successes in the industry”, described the drink as “the original luxury whisky for ultimate success”. One of the artists, Santino Le Saint, was found to be under 25 at the time the ads were seen. 

Both rulings were either upheld or upheld in part, with the ASA noting that although “alcohol was a legitimate accompaniment to a celebration of the artists’ achievements”, the brand should  not “imply alcohol could contribute to professional achievements”. 

Stag’s Breath Liqueur by Meikles of Scotland was also challenged for an “irresponsible” ad that “implied that drinking alcohol could overcome problems and had therapeutic qualities". 

The advert in question featured text which stated “Fixing a boo boo as a kid” with an image of a plaster underneath, followed by text that stated “Fixing a boo boo as an adult” with an image of a drink in a glass underneath.

ASA upheld the ruling, concluding that the advert was “irresponsible” and should not be shown again.

 

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