An alcohol sales promotion on www.livingsocial.com, visited on 11 November 2011, featured a photo of a bartender preparing four cocktails and text which stated "Four Crafted Cocktails or £30 to Spend on Beer, Wine, and Spirits ... Halloween, Bonfire Night ... Christmas - we're bang in the middle of the party season and it's time to spread our social wings. Today's hedonistic deal from the newly re-branded, new look Adventure Bar is your ticket to the best party in town. Shuffle over £14 and you'll get access to four crafted cocktails from the brand new menu -- a £40.80 value. Cheeky delights include; The Cookie Monster, The Peanut Smuggler, Basil Grande, Topcat Turncoat, Passion Fruit Mojito, and The Smooth Criminal. Add that to Adventure's classics like the Flaming Zombie or the Porn Star and you'll have yourself a night to remember. For the purists amongst you, £14 will get you £30 to spend on beer, wine, and spirits. With four locations across London, including Clapham Junction, Balham, Covent Garden, and East Dulwich, you're never too far from a venue. Don't be left out in the cold this season -- heat up your night out by clicking 'Buy Now'". At the bottom of the ad, the terms were listed under the heading "the fine print" and stated "limit one purchase per person - limit one voucher per group per visit - entire value must be used in a single visit".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible, because it encouraged excessive drinking.
LivingSocial stated that the promotion offered four cocktails, or £30 to spend at the bar, for £14. They said the terms of the promotion made clear that there was a limit of one voucher per group per visit, which they felt indicated that the promotion was intended to be enjoyed by at least two people, and would therefore afford each person no more than two cocktails, or £15 of bar-spend each. They said that the environment at Adventure Bar was one of responsible and civilised drinking and bar staff would not, as a responsible and licensed establishment, serve anyone who appeared to have taken too much alcohol. They felt that the way they had presented the promotion neither encouraged people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise, nor implied, condoned or encouraged excessive consumption of alcohol. They said they had chosen to highlight selling points such as the fact that the cocktails were "crafted" and should therefore be enjoyed and appreciated for their flavour; the central location of the bars, and the social aspect of the promotion, which they said was the opposite of the anti-social elements of excessive drinking.
The ASA noted that the offer consisted of four cocktails, or £30 worth of beer, wine or spirits, from Adventure Bar. Although we noted that the ad stated "Today's hedonistic deal" and "a night to remember", we understood that that the ad also stated "limit one purchase per person - limit one voucher per group per visit". We considered that the promotion was targeting groups on a night out, rather than individual drinkers and that the main message was the promotion of Adventure Bar as a venue for nights out in London during the Christmas season and the promotion of the different cocktails available there.
In light of the limit of one voucher per group, we considered that the amount of alcohol available in the promotion was not excessive for a group drinking in a bar and, because of that, concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not encourage excessive drinking.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Responsible advertising), 18.1 18.1 Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking. Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. and 18.10 18.10 Marketing communications that include a promotion must not imply, condone or encourage excessive consumption of alcohol. (Alcohol), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.