A leaflet for Hungry Horse Pub, seen on 11 May 2017, promoted a special offer for the re-opening of a pub. The front page of the leaflet stated “WITH TWO GREAT OFFERS £5 OFF AND A FREE DRINK”. The back of the leaflet contained information about the terms and conditions of the offer which included a list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included in the offer.
The complainant, whose child was given a leaflet in their school book bag, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was directed at children.
Greene King Retailing Ltd t/a Hungry Horse said that they did not consider the leaflet was an alcoholic promotion. They highlighted that the front of the leaflet stated “£5 off and a free drink" and did not expressly indicate that the drink was intended to be alcoholic. They said that the only reference to alcoholic drinks was on the back of the leaflet contained within the terms and conditions which included a list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. They said that the reason the terms and conditions included a list of alcoholic drinks was so that consumers were aware of which drinks were included in the offer. They also emphasised that the terms and conditions stated that alcohol should not be served to anyone under the age of 18 and that proof of ID would be requested.
Hungry Horse said that they were a community based pub designed to appeal to a wide range of customers, including families. They stated that if school children were handed the leaflets, it was with a view of encouraging the entire family to dine out in the pub rather than encouraging underage drinking.
The ASA understood that the complainant maintained that the ad had been distributed to her daughter and other children at her primary school via their school book-bags. We noted that the CAP Code prohibited alcohol ads, defined as ads for alcoholic drinks and ads that featured or referred to alcoholic drinks, from being directed at those under 18 years of age.
We acknowledged that the only express reference to alcohol was contained within the small print of the terms and conditions. We also noted that the leaflet did not contain any alcohol logos or brands. However, we considered that because the leaflet was distributed to a person who was under 18 years of age and that the leaflet referred to alcoholic drinks, the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.15 (Alcohol).
We told Hungry Horse to ensure marketing communications which promoted alcohol were not directed at those under 18 years of age.