Scottish alcohol brands rapped by ASA over ‘irresponsible’ claims | News


The Advertising Standards Authority has cracked down on a number of Scottish alcohol brands for making “irresponsible” claims about nutrition and well-being.

The watchdog has blasted a number of brands – Chivas Regal, Tennent’s Lager, Eden Mill, Smokehead Whiskey and Stag’s Breath Liqueur – for engaging in marketing activities banned under the CAP code this week.

It had specifically focused on “problem alcohol ads in Scottish media” as part of its “ongoing work monitoring alcohol advertising in the countries, particularly Scotland, in the context of Scottish Government concerns and the wider health debate in this area”, according to an ASA a spokesman to The Grocer.

Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Regal whiskey brand, for example, has been under scrutiny by regulators over two separate issues related to a series of Instagram posts promoting the drink.

The ASA questioned whether the posts violated the code because they included people who appeared to be under the age of 25.

It was also questioned whether the posts – which included images and video clips of music artists being interviewed about their careers while sipping from Chivas brand mugs, holding Chivas Regal whiskey bottles and sipping from them – “implyed that alcohol was the spiritual or could improve physical abilities; for example by making a contribution to professional achievements”.

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The question regarding the age of the interviewed artists – one of whom was believed to be 21 at the time the ad was published – was confirmed.

The second point was partially confirmed; The watchdog believed the presence of alcohol in three of the posts was consistent with the musical event at which they were filmed. However, it acknowledged the issue against one of the posts that claimed Chivas Regal is “truly the original luxury whiskey for ultimate success”.

Both Tennent’s Lager and Eden Mill, meanwhile, have been investigated by regulators for nutritional information in their social media marketing.

The ASA questioned whether phrases used in three separate posts promoting Tennent’s lager on Facebook – such as “Only 114 calories a pint”, “This is Scotland’s lowest calorie lager” and “Only 66 calories a bottle” – included nutritional information Drinks were allowed for alcoholics.

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An Instagram post promoting Eden Mill’s gin, launched in collaboration with Gordon Ramsay, also drew the watchdog’s wrath.

The ASA questioned whether the post, which stated that the honeyberries used to make the gin contained “micronutrients” “with more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges,” made nutritional claims that were not allowed.

After an investigation, the issues raised against both brands were confirmed.

Smokehead Whiskey was also investigated by the regulator, who complained that an Instagram post promoting the drink – featuring a woman in work overalls standing in front of an open bonnet holding a partially full bottle of whiskey – was “irresponsible, because there is an association of alcohol with driving and an activity or place where it would be unsafe to drink”.

The problem was confirmed as the ASA believed the ad “gave the impression that the mechanic had drunk the whiskey while on the job”.

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Finally, Stag’s Breath Liqueur was investigated by the regulator, who questioned whether a Facebook post on their page was “irresponsible in implying that drinking alcohol could solve problems and have therapeutic properties.”

The ad in question contained the captions: “Mending a Boo-Boo as a Child” with a picture of a band-aid underneath and “Mending a Boo-Boo as an Adult” with a picture of a drink in a glass underneath.

After an investigation, the issue was acknowledged by the ASA, which said the post “presented drinking alcohol as a solution to difficulties.”

A Tennent’s spokeswoman said it was “committed to the highest standards of responsible marketing and adhering to advertising codes.”

“When these posts were raised by the ASA, we immediately put things right.”

The grocer has reached out to Chivas Regal, Eden Mill, Smokehead Whiskey and Stag’s Breath Liqueur for comment.

Earlier this month, the watchdog ruled against a series of social media ads published this month by Edinburgh nightclub The Hive that “encourage excessive drinking”.

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