Earlier today (24 July) it was revealed the ASA had ruled BrewDog’s claim on its website that it is a “post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker” of a brand offensive.
The claim had been removed from the site before the ruling had been made, Brewdog claims but in a direct challenge to the ASA’s authority the brand is threatening to republish the claim “soon”.
James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, says: “We believe in freedom of speech and artistic expression. We don’t believe in mindless censorship. As for the ASA – those mother f*ckers don’t have any jurisdiction over us anyway.”
As a self-regulatory body, the ASA does not have statutory power to ban ads. It is rare, however, for brands to take BrewDog’s approach because of the PR consequences of standing by an ad that has been judged by the watchdog as neither ‘legal, honest or decent’ – the benchmark the ASA uses when considering complaints.
A spokesman for the ASA declined to comment on BrewDog’s threat to repost the claim “as at present it [BrewDog] is sticking with the ruling” or its description of the regulator as a “mother f*cker” adding it did not want to get into a “war of words” or “name calling spat” with the brand.
“We are happy to have a conversation with them [BrewDog] to advise how they can remain edgy but within the rules,” he adds.
BrewDog is no stranger to controversy over its marketing. It was slammed by The Portman Group for an “irresponsible” promotion of an 18.2 per cent ABV beer the alcohol industry body claimed encouraged excessive drinking.