Beer brands cleared on charges of not identifying ads

The advertising watchdog has dismissed complaints content created for an alcohol industry initiative to boost beer sales featuring TV presenter Tim Lovejoy discussing the best beer to accompany certain meat dishes was not distinguishable from the TV programme it was placed within. 

The extended ads in question were in a magazine-style format and featured Lovejoy discussing food and beer combinations with members of the public and chefs during the ad breaks of an episode of Sunday Brunch.

Five complainants challenged whether the ads were readily identifiable as marketing communications because they were aired during a programme also fronted by Lovejoy.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) accepted the defence put forward by the body, which represents AB InBev, Carlsberg UK, Heineken UK, Miller Brands UK and Molson Coors, claiming that both pieces of content were sufficiently distinguishable.

This was primarily because the ads ran with the text “This is an advertisement” throughout the screening, and that Sunday Brunch broadcaster Channel 4 also pre-warned viewers by airing the line: “Stay tuned for a special advertising feature”.

The ruling reads: “We accepted that the format of the ads was similar to that of cooking programmes. However, we also noted that all the complainants had recognised that they were watching advertising content.”

The deal with Sunday Brunch was part of the multi-million “Let there be beer” campaign launched in July to arrest declining beer sales.  

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