Bar Facebook ad banned for promoting ‘binge drinking’

By Alice Leader

- Last updated on GMT

Beer binge: a watchdog has prohibited a bar ad from further promotion after it was ruled as favouring ‘excessive alcohol’
Beer binge: a watchdog has prohibited a bar ad from further promotion after it was ruled as favouring ‘excessive alcohol’

Related tags Promotion Bar Binge drinking

An ‘irresponsible’ bar advert promoting customers to buy their own keg for the chance to have ‘50 cold pints available at your fingertips’ has been banned.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form after the Facebook post, published in September, was challenged over the possibility it could encourage excessive alcohol consumption.

As it stood, the Folly pub’s advert read: “Buy your own keg for you and your friends! Over 50 cold pints available at your fingertips… have it next to your table in the main room, our private room or outside in the beer garden!” which also featured an image of a man in a suit with a pint.

Binge drinking

The bar in Boston, Lincolnshire, argued the promotion was solely offered to groups of 10 or more people, which would predominately target birthdays and stag parties, where overall consumption could be monitored by bar staff.

Being aimed at groups only, this would then be the equivalent of five pints of beer to each person and was, in such cases, not deemed ‘excessive’, according to the Folly.   

It also claimed its local licensing authority saw no issue with the advert, and that the keg was only available for pre-purchase, which required customers to complete an online form confirming the number of attendees.  

The Folly did, however, offer to amend the advert to clarify this condition but the watchdog argued that it still exceeded the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) binge-drinking definition.

According to the ONS, binge drinking is considered as having more than eight units in a single session for men and over six units in a single session for women and, according to the NHS, one pint of 5.2% ABV lager equals three units.

Breaching the code

ASA said: “We understood that the UK’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO)’s low-risk drinking guidelines advised both men and women not to drink regularly more than 14 units a week.

“It also advised consumers not to ‘save up’ their 14 units, and that it was best to evenly spread them across the week.

“We understood that five pints of 5% ABV beer such as the one on offer equated to 14 units, which went beyond the ONS’s definition of binge drinking, and went against the CMO’s advice to spread the units evenly across the week.

“In light of the above, we considered the ad was irresponsible because it encouraged the excessive consumption of alcohol and was therefore in breach of the code.”

The advert is now banned and ASA has said it must not been seen in its current form again. ASA has advised the Folly to ensure that its future advertising does not encourage excessive drinking.

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