Modern Marketing Brand Safety

ASA warns subscription alcohol firm over false ‘free beer for life’ claim

By John Glenday | Reporter

May 25, 2022 | 4 min read

A subscription beer company that tantalized thirsty customers with the promise of ‘free beer for life’ has been subject to an advertising ban.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) slapped down the Bier Company for falsely proclaiming in an email to customers that they could claim unlimited quantities of alcohol as a ‘Black Card’ winner using the code SLOOFIRPA.

Bier Company

The ‘free beer for life’ promotion from the Bier Company was part of an April Fool’s Day joke

The too-good-to-be-true inbox message promised the free delivery of eight beers every month in perpetuity, as well as a ‘gold-plated’ glass to sup from and a ‘personalized gold-engraved black card’ to show off down the pub.

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Sadly, the offer was as genuine as fool’s gold, with the communication in question forming part of a April 1 joke. Recipients instead would have to pay an ongoing subscription fee just like everyone else, with only the first month free.

In its defence, the Bier Company said the message had only been sent to consumers who had opted-in to receive marketing messages and furnished the ASA with screenshots which it said proved that applicants would be under no illusions as to the paid-for nature of the deal.

Outlining its own findings, the ASA countered: “We noted that Bier Company believed they had complied with the requirements of the Code on the basis that the ‘Black Card’ offering free beer for life did exist, and was an item that they did sometimes award to consumers. However, it was clear that for the recipients of the ad the prize did not exist, and that they had been falsely told they were winners as part of an April Fool’s joke. The fact that the prize had been awarded in the past merely reinforced the likelihood of recipients believing they had won the prize.”

As a result, the Bier Company has been instructed to make sure that future promotions do not mislead customers by falsely stating or implying that they had won a prize.

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