Two posts on event promoter UKG Brunch's Facebook page:
a. The first post, seen on 16 March 2021, featured a video showing two young women who appeared to be inebriated walking then falling over on a pavement. A third woman was then shown falling into a bush. Superimposed text on the video stated “LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH LIKE…”. A caption on the post stated “We All Have A Friend Like Girl No.3! … #UKGBrunch #DaytimeRaver #drinkresponsibly”. The post also featured a link to buy tickets to UKG Brunch’s events.
b. The second post, seen on 5 April 2021, featured a video of two women who appeared to be inebriated walking out of a building and then falling over on the pavement, with the UKG Brunch logo displayed. Superimposed text on the video stated “CAUSUALLY LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH”. A caption on the post stated “It's The 3rd Girl At The End … The Countdown IS ON Until We Reopen…”.
IssueThe complainants challenged whether the ads were irresponsible because they encouraged excessive drinking.
ResponseUKG Brunch Ltd said the posts were intended to provide light hearted relief following a difficult year. They said the women shown in the videos were not associated with, and had not attended, UKG Brunch’s events, and that both posts had featured the hashtag “#drinkresponsibly”. Since being notified of the complaints by the ASA they had amended the captions on both posts to state “Drink Responsibly Guys!! (disclaimer: we don't condone irresponsible drinking) #drinkresponsibly”.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise. For example, they should not encourage excessive drinking.
The ASA noted that neither of the videos featured alcohol or the consumption of alcohol. We acknowledged UKG Brunch’s comments that the women shown in the videos were not associated with, and had not attended, their events. However, we considered that consumers would interpret the videos, when taken in combination with the superimposed text “LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH LIKE…” and “CASUALLY LEAVING A BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH”, and links to where they could buy tickets to UKG Brunch’s events, as an incitement to attend those events and drink excessively. Although we acknowledged that the posts were intended to provide light-hearted relief, we considered that they nonetheless encouraged excessive drinking by presenting binge drinking alcohol in a humorous light and by normalising and trivialising the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.
While we acknowledged that UKG Brunch had amended the relevant posts to state “Drink Responsibly Guys!! (disclaimer: we don't condone irresponsible drinking) #drinkresponsibly”, we considered that caption did not override the message of the ad. Because we considered that the ads and the amended versions of the ads would be interpreted by consumers as encouraging excessive drinking, we concluded that they had breached the Code.
Ads (a) (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 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. (Alcohol).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We Told UKG Brunch Ltd to ensure that that their future marketing communications relating to alcohol were socially responsible and did not imply, condone or encourage excessive consumption of alcohol.