Brewdog has been slapped down by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for an Instagram advert that appeared to promote an alcoholic drink as healthy.
A paid-for January advert for the UK firm’s Clean & Press Hard Seltzer read: “Due to advertising regulations we cannot claim this drink is healthy.” It continued: “Even though Clean & Press is only 90 calories per can, with no carbs or sugar and a little bit of alcohol, this is not a health drink. If you are looking for a health drink, do not drink Clean & Press.”
The clean and press is a weightlifting exercise which involves lifting a barbell from either the floor or waist level, and then pushing it over one’s head.
Five people complained to the ASA saying the advert implied the drink was healthy and employed general health language that was not allowed for alcohol promotions.
The watchdog found the sugar and carbohydrate wording broke its rules, and also that including the word “only” before the calorie count also constituted a banned health claim.
The ASA further found that the phrase “a little bit of alcohol” implied the drink was low in alcohol, despite it having an ABV of 5 per cent – equivalent to a strong lager.
In its ruling, it said: “We considered that the claim ‘a little bit of alcohol’ was likely to be understood by consumers to mean that the product was low in alcohol.
“Low alcohol claims were permitted for alcoholic drinks under the code. However, the UK Food Information Regulations (2014) stated that the description ‘low alcohol’ (and any other word or description that implied that the drink was low alcohol) should not be applied to any drink of more than 1.2 per cent ABV.”
Brewdog claimed its advert was meant to be “tongue-in-cheek”, but accepted it had broken the rules and would not publish it again.
The ASA said the advert must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Brewdog not to make health claims, or non-permitted nutrition claims about alcoholic drinks. We also told them not to make permitted nutrition claims for alcoholic drinks if the product did not meet the associated conditions of use for the claim.”
A Brewdog spokesperson said: “We have accepted the ASA ruling and have removed the wording in question.”
Additional reporting by Press Association