UK: BrewDog warned over "gratuitous" language

By | 24 July 2013

BrewDog has found itself in  hot water with the ASA

BrewDog has found itself in hot water with the ASA

Scottish brewer Brewdog has been reprimanded by the UK's advertising authorities for using “gratuitous” language on its website. 

The Aberdeenshire-based group, which is well-known for its controversial PR tactics, has removed a statement on its homepage by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and told to “avoid causing serious offence in the future”. The action was sparked after one complaint from an “internet user”, the ASA said. 

The offending passage said: "BrewDog is a post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery. Say goodbye to the corporate beer whores crazy for power and world domination ... Ride toward anarchy and caramel craziness. Let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits. Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards.” 

In its ruling, the ASA said: “Given the general tone of the page, and in particular the use of 'mother fu*ker', we considered the language used was gratuitous and concluded that the page was likely to cause serious offence to some visitors to the website page."

The authority said BrewDog has removed the “claims”, but the company “did not provide a substantive response to our enquiries”. 

BrewDog founder, James Watt, said today: “We actually just took down the statement on our website to make room for the equity for punks stuff. Soon, we will be putting the statement back on our website." 

He added: "We don’t believe in mindless censorship."

Last month, the brewer raised GBP1m (US$1.54m) in 24 hours through a crowd-funding scheme to expand its operations

Expert analysis

Beer in the United Kingdom

In 2011 beer sales remained weak due to the ongoing and growing consumer concern about government spending cuts on jobs and incomes, which continues to constrain consumer spending. Total volume sales of beer declined by 5%, a more dramatic decline compared to the previous year and slightly sharper than the review period total volume CAGR. This was due to ongoing beer tax increases in March, with beer seeing excise duty increased two percentage points above the level of inflation at 5%. This tax...

Sectors: Beer & cider, Marketing – advertising & promotions

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