Scottish Gin Society Criticised By Advertising Watchdog Over Memes

The ASA said it was irresponsible.

The Scottish Gin Society has been given a slap on the wrist by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being “irresponsible” in its promotion of drinking.

The ASA received complaints about 10 Facebook posts that appeared in December and January jokingly promoting the concept of ‘ginuary’ instead of dry January and pointing out that gin contains less calories than a banana.

One social media ad featured an image of a glass of gin and tonic and read: “This gin and tonic has 91 calories. A banana has 105 calories. My doctor told me to make the healthy choice. I love my doctor.”

The caption stated: “Kick off your New Year diet with some good advice.”

A further post featured a picture of a glass of gin and tonic accompanied by the text: “I only drink gin on two occasions: When I’m thirsty and when I’m not thirsty”.

One ad, dated January 1, featured an image of the drink accompanied by the text: “Shut up liver, you’re fine! Gin?”

Other posts spoke about “making healthy choices”, referenced to an article about speeding up the metabolism, or suggested a man named “Bill” was smart for drinking gin instead of abstaining from alcohol during “dry January”.

Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership challenged whether the ads were irresponsible because they encouraged excessive drinking, implied alcohol had therapeutic qualities and questioned whether comparative nutrition claims complied with the relevant code.

It also claimed two posts, including one that suggested gin could “make you look better naked”, linked alcohol to sexual success.

The Scottish Gin Society said it did not consider the posts were advertisements and argued they did not fall within the code’s remit. However it confirmed the posts had been removed.

The ASA said: “Although those viewing the posts would understand the intention behind them as light-hearted and humorous, we nonetheless considered they had the effect of condoning and encouraging excessive drinking.”