BrewDog beer ad pulled over ‘one of your five a day’ claim

Advertising Standards Authority acknowledges humorous intent, but says consumers could be misled

An advert for beer company BrewDog has been banned over a “tongue-in-cheek” claim that its fruit-flavoured beers constitute “one of your five a day”.

An advertising email, dated 20 July, featured the subject heading “One of your five a day”, and advertised beers with names that included Lost In Guava, Pineapple Punch, and Lost In Lychee & Lime.

A recipient complained that the five-a-day claim was misleading.

Email from Brewdog advertising fruit flavoured beers
Email from Brewdog advertising fruit flavoured beers. Photograph: ASA/PA

BrewDog, which is based in Ellon, Scotland, acknowledged that the advertised beers did not count towards a consumer’s five a day. However, it said it believed recipients would generally understand that alcoholic beverageswere not equivalent to portions of fruit or vegetables.

The firm said the email was only sent to existing customers, who were likely to be aware of BrewDog’s “playful” marketing style, and therefore felt that recipients were even more likely to recognise “one of your five a day” as a “tongue-in-cheek remark”.

Upholding the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority noted that government guidelines recommend people eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. “The ASA acknowledged that the subject heading ‘one of your five a day’ might be interpreted by some consumers as a humorous nod to the fruit-flavoured beers featured in the body of the email.

“However, because the claim referred to well-known government advice on health and wellbeing, we considered that, in general, consumers would not expect advertisers to include such claims unless the advertised product was recognised as meeting the requirements of that advice.”

It added that many consumers would be aware that some craft beers contain an unusually high amount of fruit, and in general would be uncertain as to whether an alcoholic beverage with fruit content counted as a portion of fruit.

“We therefore considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim ‘one of your five a day’ to mean that the fruit-flavoured beers in the ad’s body copy counted towards the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables,” the ASA said.

“Because alcoholic drinks did not count towards a person’s ‘five a day’, we concluded that the claim was misleading.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again, adding: “We told BrewDog to ensure that their future ads did not misleadingly imply that alcoholic beverages counted towards the five daily portions of fruit and vegetables recommended by government guidelines.”

A BrewDog spokesperson said: “We respect the ASA’s decision and are happy to confirm that beer is not a fruit or a vegetable.”

Last week it emerged that BrewDog had lost its status as a B Corp – which offers certification of a company’s ethical commitment to the environment, community and staff – less than two years after joining the scheme.

Guardian staff and agency

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