New Zealand Law Society - Ad touting gin as therapeutic remedy was irresponsible

Ad touting gin as therapeutic remedy was irresponsible

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that an advertisement claiming gin was a natural remedy was not prepared with a high standard of social responsibility.

The central Christchurch gin bar WHET Drinking Room promoted itself on Facebook with a satirical message: “Public Health Message. Did you know that gin is one of the best natural remedies for kidney and liver disease? Now this may seem somewhat ironic, however juniper berries, which gin is made from, help stop water retention in your body. Allowing you to pass more water than any other alcohol. This means that more harmful toxins and bacteria are flushed out your system. Get into Whet this week and start your liver recovery. Whet Drinking Room ... Flushing livers since 2015.”

A complainant said the post had gone too far in promoting the health benefits of drinking gin and breached the guidelines for advertising alcohol by making therapeutic claims.

The advertiser said the post was one of a series of satirical weekly public health messages that were not intended to be taken seriously and the vast majority of people viewing their Facebook page appreciated the humour.

The ASA’s complaints board said that, while the satirical nature of the ad was likely to be obvious to many consumers, the restriction on making therapeutic claims about alcohol in the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol did not allow for the use of humour. The ASA said the advertisement had not been prepared with a high standard of social responsibility, but agreed the advertisement did not encourage excessive consumption or promote alcohol as a more attractive lifestyle choice. Accordingly, the complaints board ruled the complaint was upheld in part and not upheld in part.