Gin and tonic adverts that 'encouraged excessive drinking' have been banned - ROUND GIST

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Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Gin and tonic adverts that 'encouraged excessive drinking' have been banned

An advert that impled a gin and tonic was healthier than a banana is among a wave of online promotions for the liquor that have been banned for encouraging excessive drinking and making misleading nutritional claims.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has clamped down on a "light-hearted" Facebook campaign run by The Scottish Gin Society, after upholding 10 complaints about posts from December 2017 and January this year.

One of the adverts featured an image of a glass of gin and tonic and read: "A banana has 150 calories, a gin and tonic has 110 calories. Case closed."

Accompanying the picture was a caption stating: "Kick off your New Year diet with some good advice."
One of the ads talked up the calorie content of a gin and tonic...

Other posts spoke about "making healthy choices", referenced to an article about speeding up the metabolism, and suggested a man named Bill was smart for drinking gin instead of abstaining from alcohol during "dry January".

In one of the adverts, a picture of the drink was accompanied by the caption: "The medicinal qualities of gin are never-ending it seems... All the more reason to make sure you're stocked up!"
...another suggested gin would 'make you look better naked'...

And a further post featured another picture of a gin and tonic with the text: "I only drink gin on two occasions: When I'm thirsty and when I'm not thirsty."

The adverts were challenged by Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership, which said they were irresponsible because they encouraged excessive drinking and implied alcohol had therapeutic qualities.
...and another suggested the drink had 'medicinal qualities'

It also claimed two posts, including one that suggested gin could "make you look better naked", linked the consumption of alcohol to sexual success.

But The Scottish Gin Society argued that the posts - which have been removed from Facebook - were not adverts and therefore did not fall within the remit of the ASA.

It said they did not monetise membership of the society or sell any products, nor was the society paid to promote them.

The ASA disagreed and upheld the complaints, ruling that the posts had fallen within its remit.
For three of them, the watchdog said that while the intention of the posts was to be "light-hearted and humorous", it considered they had the effect of "condoning and encouraging excessive drinking".

On the comparison between the calorific content of a gin and tonic and a banana, the ASA said: "We considered that alcoholic-mixed drinks and fruits did not fall into the same food category and therefore concluded that the comparative nutrition claim breached the code."

The watchdog also disapproved of adverts suggesting gin had "therapeutic qualities and could help to treat health conditions" - and posts it considered "had the effect of suggesting alcohol could enhance attractiveness and therefore lead to sexual success".

The ASA said it has told the society to ensure their future ads do not encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol, make health claims, or imply that alcohol could enhance attractiveness.

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