Gin wholesaler penalised by ad watchdog over "irresponsible" Facebook posts

15 June, 2016

The advertising watchdog has laid into wholesaler The Gin Lab for irresponsibly promoting alcohol on its Facebook page after a complaint from Alcohol Concern.

The charity took umbrage with a range of humorous posts the wholesaler has put up in January relating to gin.

In the first an image showed a banana and a gin and tonic with text stating: “A banana 103 calories… Gin & Tonic 91 calories… Make an informed decision.”

A flowchart-style graphic headed “Guide to Happiness” asked “Are you happy?” and then presented optional answers, all of which led to the statement, “Have a G&T”.

In the third a black and white image showed a woman with a large bow in her hair drinking from a champagne glass into which liquid was being poured from a bottle, with text stating: “GIN a traditional English breakfast”.

An image based on Where’s Wally encouraged readers to find a bottle of gin hidden within the picture, while another image showed a man wearing a Superman T-shirt in a hospital bed and a bottle of gin attached to an intravenous drip with text stating: “The Doctor told me to keep my spirits up!".

Alcohol Concern felt the first image made a comparative nutritional complaint between gin and bananas and complained. It also felt the posts were irresponsible because they suggested gin can help people overcome problems and showed alcohol being served in a irresponsible manner.

It also argued that the model with the bow in her hair looked under 18 and that the Superman post would appeal to minors.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld all the complaints apart from the Superman argument, because it ruled that Superman also appeals to adults.

It ruled that the posts must not appear again in their current forms.

It added: “We told The Gin Lab Ltd to ensure that their ads did not portray alcohol in a socially irresponsible manner [in future].”

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