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Diageo promotes ‘craft’ over ‘consumption’ to survive ASA complaint

15 April 2015

The Guinness brand is known for its iconic advertisements, although regulations today preclude the use of famous slogans of yesteryear such as “Guinness is Good For You”. As with all alcohol brands, Guinness’s advertising is now careful to ensure that it promotes the brand, whilst not promoting the excessive consumption of alcohol.

A recent social media campaign by Guinness provides a good example of how this can be done – in it they emphasised, not the consumption of the beverage but, its production.

Guinness had tweeted a picture of the entrance to St James’s Gate Brewery with the description: “a good week starts here”. Alcohol Concern challenged the advertisement, claiming it implied irresponsibly that someone’s week could be improved by drinking. Guinness responded that, in the context of the campaign, the implication was actually that a good week of work was starting at the brewery.

Today’s ASA ruling, which did not uphold the complaint, found it was likely that the advertisement implied that Guinness could be consumed as part of a good week but this was allowable and not the same as implying that Guinness could improve someone’s week.

In its assessment the ASA acknowledged that: the advertisement did not feature any alcoholic drinks, the consumption of alcohol, or any social event or venue where the consumer might think alcohol is consumed. It follows that by placing an emphasis on craft over consumption, businesses are more likely to successfully promote their brands without breaching the strict regulations governing alcohol advertisements of this type.

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