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Complaints over ten Facebook posts from the Scottish Gin Society have been upheld by the U.K.'s advertising body for encouraging excessive drinking and linking alcohol to sexual success, among other issues.
The gin group argued that the Facebook posts were not adverts and therefore did not fall under the remit of the U.K's ad codes, which are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). However, the rules do apply to claims on a company's website and on social media, as well as paid-for posts.
One of the gin society's posts, dated 27 December 2017, featured an image of a glass of gin and tonic and the text: "Healthy eating and exercise make you look better naked. So does gin. Your choice".
Another post, from November 2017, showed a gin and tonic and the text: "A banana has 150 calories, a G&T has 110 calories, case closed." The image featured the Scottish Gin Society's logo and was captioned: "We're all about making healthy choices."
Other posts stated: "Gin…Helping otherwise smart girls embrace their inner skank since the 1600s," "Shut up liver, you're fine! Gin?" and "I only drink gin on two occasions: When I'm thirsty and when I'm not thirsty."
The U.K.'s ad rules state that alcohol ads must not encourage excessive drinking, suggest that it could enhance physical and mental capabilities, link alcohol to sexual success or make comparative nutrition claims. The Aberdeen Alcohol and Drug Partnership complained to the ASA on the basis that the ten Facebook posts broke those rules.
The Scottish Gin Society removed the posts from Facebook and the ASA told the group it must not make similar claims in future.
The Scottish Gin Society said in an online statement that it did not consider its Facebook posts to fall under the ASA's remit and that it is a not-for-profit organization that does not make money from promoting Scottish gin. "While we have a light-hearted and fun personality, we do not think gin has magical or medical qualities, nor would we ever condone irresponsible or unhealthy consumption. It was never our intention to upset or offend anyone," it added.