BrewDog Ad Censored by U.K. Watchdog for Misleading Climate Claims

BrewDog Ad Censored by U.K. Watchdog for Misleading Climate Claims

News by Nikola Djuric
Published: December 22, 2023

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has censored BrewDog, the brewery known for its Punk IPA beer, for making misleading claims about the climate credentials of its beers.

In an ad launched in July, the company claimed its beers were carbon-negative and described the beverage as a "beer for your grandchildren," asserting BrewDog as "the world’s first carbon-negative brewery."

BrewDog's ad saying, "beer for your grandchildren."

The ASA upheld two complaints about the advertisement, stating that it failed to provide sufficient information to support its claims. According to the ASA, consumers would interpret the ad as suggesting that BrewDog removed more carbon from the atmosphere than it emitted.

However, the watchdog found the ad lacked necessary details explaining the basis of BrewDog's claim.

BrewDog CEO James Watt expressed his dissatisfaction with the ASA's decision in a LinkedIn post, criticizing the authority for focusing on what he considered minor details and suggesting that competitors might be filing “spurious” complaints to hinder BrewDog's operations.

This isn't the first time BrewDog has been at odds with the ASA.

The brewery previously faced censure for claims that its beverages contributed to a daily target of fruit and vegetable portions and were healthy, which contradicted advertising rules that prohibit positive health claims about alcohol.

Another ruling involved a promotion that claimed cans worth £15,000 had been hidden in cases of beer, which turned out to be gold-plated brass.

BrewDog countered the complaints by highlighting Instagram's limitations, which prevent linking within image captions, and directed consumers to their bio that linked to a webpage explaining their carbon reduction efforts.

Despite these efforts, the ASA upheld the complaint, stating the ad was misleading and ruling that BrewDog must clearly state the basis of environmental claims in future ads.

The ASA's decision is part of wider anti-greenwashing efforts, with guidelines stating that unqualified carbon-neutral claims could be misleading if they omit material information.

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