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Glasgow nightclub The Garage rapped over Facebook ads directed at under 18’s

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By Natalie Mortimer, N/A

August 27, 2014 | 4 min read

Ads for a nightclub in Glasgow have been banned after it was ruled they breached the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) alcohol rules.

Four ads for the Garage Nightclub, three of which appeared on the club’s Facebook page, were banned for failing to take measures to prevent them being directed at people under 18 years of age, featuring people who appeared under 25 years of age, and encouraging excessive consumption of alcohol.

The Garage defended the ads and said they were posted on its Facebook page, which meant they would have appeared in the newsfeed of anyone who had 'liked' their page.

If recipients then 'liked' or 'shared' the ad, it would in turn appear in the newsfeeds of their friends. The Beachcove- owned company said it did not have control over who the ad was shared with beyond those people who had liked the page.

The Garage provided statistics from a social media analytical tool which indicated that 3 per cent of the people who had liked their page were under the age of 18, due to live music events the venue had hosted which allowed children over 14 to attend.

It also provided statistics which indicated that less than 25 per cent of UK Facebook users were under 18, therefore meeting the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code which states that no medium should be used to advertise alcoholic drinks if more than 25 per cent of its audience is under 18 years of age.

The Garage added that the ad promoted their new club night called #tag and did not feature or mention alcohol, and that the image featured their PR staff who were all over 18 years of age.

It also defended an advert on its own website to win a trip to New York with Smirnoff Gold, after a complainant said the promotion encouraged excessive drinking. The Garage said that the ad, which have consumers the chance to win the trip if they bought a Smirnoff Gold or Applebite Gold at the bar, featured a drinkaware logo and that the gamecard it offered would be monitored by staff.

In relation to the Facebook ads, the ASA said that it had not seen evidence that the final audience for the ads comprised less than 25 per cent of people under 18 years of age.

It added that because The Garage had had the ability, through the selection of media and the context in which the ads appeared, to prevent the ads being directed at people under 18 years of age, but had failed to do so, it was in breach of the code.

The ASA also said the image used in the ad breached the code because those featured appeared to be under the age of 25, and that the holiday and drinks promotion condoned and encouraged excessive consumption of alcohol..

The ads must not appear again in their current form.

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