Pub giant Greene King has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for directing an alcohol promotion at children.
The ASA has ruled that the company, which runs the Hungry Horse, Chef & Brewer and Flaming Grill brands, should ensure its marketing material should not advertise alcoholic drinks if more than 25% of its audience is under 18 years of age.
The ruling was made after a parent complained that their primary school child had been given a leaflet, promoting a special offer at the reopening of the Sixfields Hungry Horse pub in Northampton, in their school bag. The offer stated "with two great offers £5 off and a free drink".
Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were listed as being included in the offer in the terms and conditions on the back of the leaflet, which emphasised that alcohol should not be served to anyone under the age of 18.
In a statement after the ruling, a spokesperson for Greene King said: "As the ASA noted in their ruling, the only reference to alcohol was included in the small print on the back of the leaflet.
"The decision was taken locally and we have reminded our pub managers that they should not be doing any local marketing activity at schools."
As a community-based pub aimed to appeal to families, among other customers, Greene King added that if children received the leaflet, it was in order to encourage families to dine out rather promote underage drinking.
The ASA recognised that a reference to alcohol was only contained within the small print of the terms and conditions and that the leaflet did not contain any alcohol logos or brands. However, it said that the advertising code had been breached because the literature was distributed to a child and referred to alcoholic drinks.
The complaint was upheld and the ASA told Greene King told "to ensure marketing communications which promoted alcohol were not directed at those under 18 years of age".
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