Restaurant bar group Drake & Morgan has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a drinks campaign which has been deemed "irresponsible" over claims its cocktails could enhance moods.
The ASA ruled that a website and email promoting Drake & Morgan's botanical-themed drinks menu, which implied that alcohol "could enhance physical and mental capabilities … by having a positive effect on a person's mood and well-being", was in breach of rules regarding the marketing of alcohol. The body has since informed the company that the advert can no longer appear as it is "not socially responsible".
In the ruling, the ASA said: "Alcohol must not be portrayed as capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour or as a source of nourishment. Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol could enhance mental or physical capabilities."
The advert, released in May, had seen Drake & Morgan create a menu called "Language of Flowers" that allowed users to take part in a personality-type quiz to determine what free drink best suited their mood. Customers had the choice of clicking on several options, including "overstretched", "low-spirited", "walking on sunshine", and "totally chilled". They were then awarded a free drink voucher sent via email for the "perfect potion for their emotion", which could be redeemed at a Drake & Morgan site of their choosing.
Drake & Morgan, which operates 23 sites across London and Manchester, said the promotional game was "an engaging way of distributing personalised prizes and they had not intended to encourage irresponsible drinking".
It explained that "there were no implications that the recommended drink would change or alter people's mood. On the contrary, the drink proposed was determined by the mood and colour preference selected and was akin to asking ‘what are you in the mood for?'" it claimed.