The Co-op blasted by ASA over ‘irresponsible’ alcohol ad

The Co-operative Food has had a radio ad banned after the Advertising Standards Authority deemed it to be “irresponsible” and guilty of glamourising binge drinking.

The convenience retailer ran the ad over the summer, with a voiceover stating: “Sun is out, garden chair, drinks. In-laws, great, drinks. Cricket, wicket, drinks. At your local Co-op selected spirits are just £13 each. Little, often, Co-op.”

One listener complained that the inclusion of the slogan “Little, often” besides alcoholic beverages was “irresponsible”.

In response to the complain, the Co-op claimed the “Little, Often, Co-Op” slogan was consistently used across its marketing messaging and was not intended in any way to glamourise binge drinking.

It said the repetition of the word “drinks” was a reference to the multiple summertime scenarios in which its consumers might enjoy the featured products and did not equate to frequency of consumption. It was also keen to point out the inclusion of the words “please drink responsibly” at the end of the ad.

However its defence was rejected by the ASA.

“The ad included reference to three brief scenarios followed by ‘drinks’, which we considered would be understood by listeners to refer to the consumption of alcohol,” says an ASA spokeswoman.

“The scenarios were all spoken by the same person and, in combination with the use of the slogan and fact the ad was for spirits, we considered that the ad implied it was desirable to drink frequently. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and it must not appear again in its current form.”

The ASA has advised the Co-op to “take care” when using the ‘Little, Often, Co-Op’ slogan in future when advertising alcoholic products.

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food responded: “We take our responsibilities to market alcohol very seriously and are disappointed that our summer radio advert led to a complaint.

“We are sorry and will continue to closely review our radio scripts in future.”

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here