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A “misleading” BrewDog ad that claims the company’s fruit-flavored beers has been banned for “one of your five days”.
A promotional email sent to consumers on July 20 featured the contested phrase as the subject heading – advertising beers with names such as Lost in Payava, Pineapple Punch and Lost in Lychee & Lime.
Defending its marketing, the Scotland-based brewing company claimed its recipients were more likely to be aware of BrewDog’s “playful” style, and therefore more likely to recognize it as a “tongue-in-cheek comment”.
It also argued that recipients would generally understand that alcoholic beverages are not equivalent to servings of fruit or vegetables.
But on Wednesday, the advertising watchdog raised a complaint from one recipient that BrewDog’s email was misleading – and asked the firm to refrain from making similar claims in future marketing.
In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) acknowledged that the “five-day” claim “could be interpreted by some consumers as a humorous nod to the fruit-flavoured beer featured in the email”.
“However, because the claim referred to well-known government advice on health and wellness, we considered that, in general, consumers would not expect advertisers to include such a claim unless the advertised product was recognized as meeting the requirements of that advice,” the ASA said.
“Furthermore, the claim appeared in the subject heading of the email, which we considered to be positioned as a key element of the advertising message.”
The email is titled ‘One of your five days’
(Brewdog/Advertising Standards Authority handout)
Many consumers will be aware that some craft beers contain “abnormally high amounts of fruit,” meaning consumers likely interpreted BrewDog’s email as meaning that the beer’s ads actually counted for their “five-a-day,” the watchdog said.
The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again, adding: “We asked BrewDog that their future ads do not misrepresent that alcoholic drinks count towards the five daily portions of fruit and vegetables recommended by government guidelines.”
A Brewdog spokesman said: “We respect the ASA’s decision and are happy to confirm that the beer is neither fruit nor vegetable.”
It is not the first time that BrewDog, based in Elon, Aberdeenshire, has fallen foul of the advertising watchdog, when the brewing company told customers they could win £15,00 worth of 24-carat solid gold beer – before facing allegations that the can was actually gold-plated.
Additional reporting by PA