Ad Alert


Brewery issues a "gold plated apology" for misleading consumers on "solid gold" cans.

In its version of the golden ticket contest, Scotland-based brewery BrewDog planted a limited number of “solid gold” cans inside 12-packs of its flagship beer, Punk IPA. Or at least that’s what it told consumers it did in a tweet promoting the contest late last year.

“Dear People Of The World,” the brewery, which has several locations in the U.S., tweeted, “10 solid gold Punk IPA cans are hidden in Punk 12-packs which will ship from our online shop over the next 4 weeks. Winners receive a gold can worth £15K, 10K of BrewDog shares & VIP tour of our Brewery.”

The people of the world responded but perhaps not the way that BrewDog may have expected. Critics of the contest and a similar promotion featuring the brewery’s Hazy Jane New England IPA that BrewDog plugged on social media earlier this year complained to the Advertising Standards Authority in the U.K. that the cans winners received as prizes were not solid gold but rather gold plated.

Yesterday the ASA announced it had concluded that the social media ads were misleading.

“We considered that because the awarded prize was not the same as that described in the ads, the promotion caused unnecessary disappointment to participants and therefore breached the Code,” the ASA said in its ruling.

One of the winners of the Punk IPA promotion had reportedly planned to pay bills and fund his wedding by selling the can he was led to believe was made of solid gold but was “disappointed” when he discovered the can was only plated with the metal after asking for a certificate from BrewDog.

In response to the ASA inquiry, BrewDog did not dispute that the promotional cans were gold plated but said that they were manufactured by one of the most reputable goldsmiths in the world, who confirmed that the cans were coated in 24-carat gold.

The brewery said using the term “solid gold” to describe the gold-plated Punk IPA cans was a mistake that was repeated with the launch of the Hazy Jane promotion, even as it argued no “reasonable consumer” would assume they were going to win over half a million dollars of gold when the value of the can was set at 15,000 pounds (roughly $20,000). The ASA disagreed.

“We considered a general audience was unlikely to be aware of the price of gold, how that would translate into the price of a gold can, and whether that was consistent with the valuation as stated in the ad,” the ASA said.

On the same day the ASA ruling was announced, BrewDog issued a “gold plated apology,” simultaneous with the launch of a new contest featuring “diamond encrusted gold cans.”

Find more of our coverage on contests here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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