Donald MacLeod branded the ASA’s ruling over ads for competitions and a new club night at his Garage nightclub “absolutely ridiculous when you consider how the supermarkets advertise alcohol”.
Four adverts – three on the Garage’s Facebook page and one on the venue’s website – were investigated after the ASA received one complaint, which challenged whether the ads “resulted in the advertising of alcoholic drinks to under 18s”, “encouraged excessive drinking”, and featured women who “appeared to be under 25 years of age”.
Responding to the complaint, the Garage supplied statistics showing that 3% of those who had ‘liked’ the venue’s Facebook page were under 18, pointing out that the venue stages some music events which those aged 14 and over can attend. It said the women in the club night ad were all aged over 18; and that its staff are “trained to monitor customers for excessive drinking”.
However, the ASA upheld the complaint.
MacLeod said the ruling “rubbishes the fact that we operate a very safe and responsible venue”. “Are they saying we’re now meant to police Facebook too?” he said. “No one can police social media; even government fails to police it.
“Supermarkets have huge adverts for cheap wine in newspapers and on TV every day. If the ASA has advertising standards, where are they? Any kid could see those.”
An ASA spokesman said: “The [alcohol advertising] rules apply across media, including social media, apply equally to businesses like supermarkets, and include restrictions that reduce the likelihood of under 18s seeing alcohol ads or their being likely to be of particular appeal to them.”