A Facebook post by The Folly Bar in Boston, Lincolnshire, seen on 29 September 2019, featured text which stated “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!” The ad featured an image of a man in a suit with a pint of beer leaning on a bar, under which sat a keg of beer.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it encouraged the excessive consumption of alcohol.
The Folly Bar said that the keg was offered to groups of 10 or more people. As that offered up to five pints of beer to each person, they did not deem such consumption as excessive. They said the keg was predominantly purchased for birthdays and stag parties, and their staff monitored the consumption throughout. The Folly Bar said that their local Licensing Authority saw no issue with the ad, and that the keg was only available for pre-purchase, where consumers were required to complete an online form confirming how many people would be attending the event. They said they would amend the ad so that it stated “For group bookings”.
The CAP Code required marketing communications to contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise, including excessive drinking. The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the text “Buy your own keg for you and your friends! Over 50 pints available at your fingertips… Have it next to your table in the main room, our private room or outside in the beer garden” to mean that they and a group of friends could purchase the keg, which offered them 50 pints of beer, in various areas of the pub, and consequently implied it was readily available to any size group.
We acknowledged The Folly Bar’s comment that the product was available to groups of 10 or more people. However, that was not accounted for in the ad, and we noted that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) defined binge drinking as having over eight units in a single session for men and over six units in a single session for women. 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% 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 ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 18.1 (Alcohol).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told The Folly Bar to ensure that their future advertising did not encourage excessive drinking.