‘Healthy’ Hard Seltzer claims
backfire at BrewDog
Ads for Hard Seltzer have come under fire from the ASA for making ‘misleading’ health claims.
Three brands including BrewDog have seen ads banned for making unsubstantiated health claims.
Hard seltzer brands BrewDog, DRTY and Whisp have all had adverts banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for making “misleading” and “irresponsible” health claims.
Hard Seltzer products are marketed as a more natural alternative than ready to drink cans, and have recently launched from Heineken, Bud Light and Coca-Cola.
DRTY commissioned a report which stated the sector in the UK is expected to reach £75m by 2027, following in the success of the US market where the category was worth $3.8bn in 2019. This figure is expected to rise to $10.9bn by 2027, according to Allied Research.
A paid-for Instagram post for BrewDog’s Clean & Press Hard Seltzer stated ‘Due to advertising regulations we cannot claim this drink is healthy’. Additional text which read ‘Even though Clean & Press is only 90 calories per can, with no carbs or sugar and a little bit of alcohol, this is not a health drink’ was positioned next to the image.
Complainants took issue with a number of the phrases used within the ad, which despite saying it was not a health drink alluded to the fact it was.
Three issues were investigated and all were upheld.
The ASA ruled using ‘no carbs or sugar’ and ‘only 90 calories’ to describe the product constituted nutritional claims, which are not permitted in relation to alcohol.
Brands can give factual information about the contents of alcoholic drinks, but they must not make any health, fitness or weight control claims. The ASA said consumers were being lead to believe by BrewDog that the product was in fact healthy. In addition, they said the issue was the brand was simply unable to communicate this fact to consumers.
The watchdog says the phrase ‘a little bit of alcohol’ was also misleading. It suggested the product was low in alcohol despite containing 5% ABV. Only products with less than 1.2% ABV can be described as low alcohol.
BrewDog defended the ad, saying it was “intended to be tongue in cheek” and has agreed not to use the claims in future campaigns.
The ASA said it has been making clear for years to advertisers that health claims on alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
“We’ve noticed ads for hard seltzers sometimes try to claim they are better for consumers than other alcoholic beverages. So we’re committed to making it clear that such claims don’t follow the rules and need to stop.
“We will continue to rigorously investigate any ads that make health claims and non-permitted nutrition claims about alcohol and enforce sanctions as necessary.”
The original story was featured in Marketing Week