The ads have been banned by three Scottish distilleries due to “irresponsible” messages claiming the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of drinking alcohol.
British Chef Gordon Ramsay’s collaboration with Eden Mill Distillery resulted in an advertisement for Gin Ramsay which claimed spirit contains a “range of micronutrients” and compared them favorably to fruits.
The ad, which was posted on Ramsay’s Gin Instagram and Facebook pages on March 20, featured an image of a bottle of the product with text saying: “Bee honey from the botanical foundations of Ramsey Gin…Farmer follows a natural growth philosophy which means honey berries retain the rich flavors and micronutrients that Comes from the wonderful land of Scotland.
“With more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges and a flavor like a mix of blueberries, peaches and grapes, this might just be the tastiest honey in the world!”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the claims include a “positive comparison between the nutritional content of the product and the listed fruits”.
She said, “While we welcomed the action taken by Ramsey Jane to withdraw the ads, the allegations ‘reserve […] Micronutrients” and containing “more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, and more vitamin C than oranges” were nutritional claims not allowed for alcoholic beverages, and we concluded that the ads violated the rules.”
Eden Mail Distillery said the ads were only posted once, and were later deleted. She credited supervising the due diligence on being “excited about the opportunity to work with Gordon Ramsay,” and offered assurances that it wouldn’t happen again.
In another case, the ASA questioned whether an Instagram post by Smokehead Whiskey in June was irresponsible, because it linked alcohol to driving and an activity or location where drinking is unsafe.
Featured in the photo is a picture of a partially filled whiskey bottle, along with a woman in business clothes in front of a car with an open hood.
Text text “Work hard or hard? Great shot, keep it going with the skull and fire emoji.
The ASA ruled that the ad indicated that the woman was a mechanic, working in a garage – bearing in mind that while the vehicle was stationary, a mechanic would be expected to operate the machinery and likely have to drive the vehicle to maneuver while working on it.
He said: “While we acknowledged that the post did not show the mechanic drinking from the bottle, we noted that the whiskey bottle was partially full, and as such, we considered that to give the impression that the mechanic was drinking whiskey on the job.
“We considered that the reference to ‘barely working’ also added to this impression.”
Finally, the Scottish Liqueur brand has come under fire for its June 10 ad that “implicitly suggests that drinking alcohol can overcome problems and have healing qualities.”
A Facebook post on Stag’s Breath Liqueur page stated, “Ha! Happy Friday everyone! #Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha” [sic] Accompanied by a smiley face emoji.
Below this, I featured a text that equates to using plaster as a child to drinking alcohol as an adult.
The ASA found that consumers could interpret the ad to mean that while a child would only need an adhesive to “fix” a minor mistake or injury, in adulthood, alcohol could be used instead.
I admit that those who have seen the post will understand that it was meant to be nice and humorous at the end of the work week, however, he found drinking alcohol as a solution to difficulties.
The watchdog banned the ad in its complaining form, and told Mickles of Scotland to make sure the ad in the future did not mean that alcohol “can help to overcome problems in life and has curative qualities”.