Brewdog or the ASA: who's the stupidest?

By Robyn Black

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

Brewdog's 3.8% ABV pale ale Dead Pony Club was found in breech of the Portman Group's voluntary code.
Brewdog's 3.8% ABV pale ale Dead Pony Club was found in breech of the Portman Group's voluntary code.
Whatever you think of BrewDog’s recent attack on the Portman Group, when it called the body a “gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths” over the recent ruling on its Dead Pony Club beer – and to my mind it is not just a pathetic attempt at cheap publicity, but a stupid, thoughtless move that puts the rest of the industry in danger from further regulation – it does throw a spotlight on alcohol marketing codes in this country.

They are among the strictest in the world.

Ads must not link alcohol with seduction, sex or social success; with irresponsible, anti-social, tough or daring behaviour; show alcohol being served irresponsibly or people drinking and behaving in an adolescent way, to mention just a few.

Alongside this we have the voluntary Portman Group code guiding the packaging of alcoholic drinks and sponsorship deals and so on.

Aside from BrewDog, there has been a spate of companies to fall foul of such regulations in recent months, for brands including Lambrini, WKD and Let There Be Beer.

All these rulings are in stark contrast to the findings of the ASA last month over an ad by alcohol awareness group Balance.

The ad showed an actor sipping a pint of beer containing a growing tumour at the bottom to highlight links between alcohol and cancer.

Never mind the scaremongering – let’s remember the risk from cancer for moderate drinkers is low and that moderate drinking can be beneficial to overall health – the complaints were not upheld and the ad can be aired in its current form.

Whatever you think of BrewDog’s behaviour, it’s not as stupid as that.

Related topics: Beer, Marketing

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