Three social media posts posted by Stonegate Pub Company venues have been banned for encouraging excessive drinking.
A Facebook post for Slug & Lettuce Glasgow on 1 June featured the caption, "The best way to start off this four-day bank holiday weekend! Which cocktail tree will you be treating yourself and your bestie to? We can't wait to celebrate with you". Underneath was an image of a stand holding nine cocktails.
A second post by the same venue the following week featured the caption, "Happy #NationalBestFriendDay @ in your bestie Why not make their day with our S&L E-Gift Cards?! Because what's better than giving the gift of fabulous memories & delicious cocktails? Purchase your gift card now" and included a link to purchase an e-gift card. Underneath was an image of five young women sat around a table, each with multiple cocktails.
Meanwhile, an Instagram post for Popworld Leeds Lower Briggate on 25 June featured an image with text that stated, "When your pal hands you another shot and you're not sure you can handle it but you take it anyway…" and an image of Scarlett Moffatt, grimacing while participating in a bushtucker trial in I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! The post included the caption "POP party Saturday tonight [sic] from 9pm. Shot & Bomb deals all night so why not treat a mate?!? FREE entry B4 11pm #aintnopartylikeapopworldparty #leeds #party #itstheweekend #drink".
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) challenged whether the ads were irresponsible and encouraged excessive drinking, as well as whether one of the ads featured people who seemed to be under the age of 25 years. The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) states that people shown drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in an ad for alcohol must neither be, nor seem to be, under 25 years of age.
Stonegate acknowledged that the ads possibly breached advertising codes and said they had removed them. The group said it was reviewing its other social media ads and would remove any that were similar.
Stonegate said the first post should have said "besties" and not "bestie", an omission which this could have been understood as encouraging two people to buy a cocktail tree with nine drinks in one order. The company said it would take steps to prevent this mistake happening again.
In relation the second post, the business acknowledged it could have been understood as encouraging five people to consume excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. The company was not able to confirm the age of the individuals in the ad and accepted that some people may have perceived the individuals as being under 25. The business also accepted that the third post could be understood as encouraging a person to reluctantly consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
The ASA concluded that the ads encouraged excessive drinking, and although welcomed Stonegate's willingness to remove the posts, that they were socially irresponsible and breached the code.
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