A website and email promoting the bar and restaurant chain Drake and Morgan’s botanical themed drinks:
a. An interactive quiz on www.language-of-flowers.co.uk, seen on 2 May 2019, included the text “FROM EMOTION TO POTION…How are you feeling today? Play our Emotion to Potion game to find out what free drink best suits your mood”. Beneath the text was a “PLAY NOW” icon. Once this was clicked through, text stated “HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY?” with the option to select “OVERSTRETCHED”, “TOTALLY CHILLED”, “LOW-SPIRITED”, “WALKING ON SUNSHINE” or “LOVED UP”. The following page stated “WHAT COLOUR BEST REFLECTS YOUR MOOD?” with the option to select “MELLOW YELLOW”, “BALANCED BEIGE”, “PASSIONATE PINK”, “BURNT OUT BRONZE” or ”RADIANT RED”. The final page of the quiz stated “we’ve got THE PERFECT POTION FOR YOUR EMOTION” and gave users the option to enter their email address and select their location.
b. An email, received on 14 May 2019, included the subject heading “Your Drinks Voucher”. Additional text stated “OUR POTION FOR YOUR EMOTION IS Hard Candy Give yourself a boost with black walnut. Werther’s Original Bulleit Bourbon, maple syrup & black walnut bitters. To redeem for a free drink simply show this voucher to your bartender at any participating Drake & Morgan location to claim your personalised remedy”.
Two complainants, who believed that ads (a) and (b) implied that alcohol could enhance physical and mental capabilities for example, by having a positive effect on a person’s mood and well-being, challenged whether the ads breached the Code.
Drake & Morgan Ltd said their marketing campaign named the “Language of Flowers” promoted their new food and drinks menu. The ‘Emotion to Potion’ online game was part of the campaign, which used the concept of a personality-type quiz to tell stories about their new drinks menu. The game also gave guests a complimentary personalised cocktail from the menu. Two of the five drinks highlighted were non-alcoholic drinks. A drink recommendation was offered after the user submitted their answers and had completed the online quiz. They said that they did not reference alcohol during the quiz. Drake & Morgan provided screenshots and details of the user journey, setting out each stage of the quiz. First, users would have to confirm they were 18 years or over in order to enter the game. The quiz asked how the user was feeling on that day and then asked what colour reflected the user’s mood at that time. The user was then told that a drink had been selected and they were asked to voluntarily submit their email address to receive their recommendation. The user would then receive an email inviting them to visit a Drake & Morgan branch and to redeem their complimentary drink. They said that illustrated that their communications did not imply that alcohol had therapeutic qualities and there were no implications that the recommended drink would change or alter people’s mood. On the contrary, the drink proposed was determined by the mood and colour preference selected and was akin to asking “what are you in the mood for?” as they would do in their bars. They said that the game was an engaging way of distributing personalised prizes and they had not intended to encourage irresponsible drinking.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not imply that alcohol had therapeutic qualities. Alcohol must not be portrayed as capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour or as a source of nourishment. Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol could enhance mental or physical capabilities.
Ad (a) displayed options that readers could select to reflect their mood for that day, such as “over stretched” or “low spirited”. Readers could then select a colour which reflected their mood, which included “radiant red” and “burnt out bronze”. Ad (b), which featured a drink recommendation based on the options selected in ad (a), also featured the claim “give yourself a boost”. We considered because the ads specifically asked about the reader’s mood and made a recommendation for an alcoholic drink based on their answer, the alcoholic drink recommendation alongside the claims in ads (a) and (b) implied that alcohol could have a positive effect on a person’s mood and well-being.
We considered that the claims “potion for your emotion” and “claim your personalised remedy” in ad (b) additionally implied that alcohol was a solution for those experiencing emotional problems and therefore suggested that alcohol had therapeutic qualities.
We concluded that ads (a) and (b) implied that drinking alcohol could enhance one’s mood and well-being and suggested that alcohol could have therapeutic qualities. For those reasons the ads were socially irresponsible and in breach of the Code. Ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.1 and 18.7 (Alcohol).
Ads (a) and (b) must no longer appear in the form complained about. We told Drake & Morgan Ltd to ensure their ads were not socially irresponsible, including that they did not state or imply that drinking alcohol could alter ones mood and not to suggest that alcohol could have therapeutic properties.