An advert for an alcohol-free beer by BrewDog has been banned after advertising watchdogs received 26 complaints about its placement.
The advert, which came in the form of a large outdoor poster, was positioned outside of a primary school and bore the slogan: “SOBER AS A MOTHERFU”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the poster was likely to cause “serious and widespread offence” and was inappropriately placed, given that it could be easily seen by children.
Brewdog said its advert was part of a campaign scheduled to run for two weeks across 44 sites across the UK and was not designed to elicit offence, particularly because it contained no profanities.
The company reiterated the fact that the advertised product was free from alcohol and has been intended to promote sobriety.
But following an investigation, the ASA ruled that the advert breached social responsibility codes and must not appear again in its current form.
“We considered older children and adults who saw the ad would understand “MOTHERFU” was a truncated version of the expletive ‘motherf**ker’,” the organisation said in a statement.
“We acknowledged that the word was not displayed in its entirety; however, we considered the word ‘motherf**ker’ was clearly being alluded to, and “motherfu” would therefore be understood as a clear reference to that swear word.
“We considered that word was so likely to offend a general audience that such a reference should not appear in media where it was viewable by such an audience.
“We concluded the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence and that it was not appropriate for display in media where it could be seen by children.”
A spokesperson for BrewDog said: “The ad was designed to be eye-catching and considered it promoted being sober. BrewDog did not believe the number of complaints received was indicative of ‘widespread’ offence.”
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