Alcohol industry representatives from The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign For Real Ale (CFRA), the Society of Independent Brewers (SIB), J W Lees and Co Brewery and three other complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading and irresponsible, because they believed it amounted to scaremongering and gave the impression that drinking a small amount or drinking moderately would increase someone’s risk of developing cancer.
The advert, which you can see below, was produced by Balance, a North East-based alcohol awareness charity operating out of Darlington Memorial Hospital and today the Advertising Standards Authority adjudicated against the complainants and “concluded that the ad was not misleading or irresponsible.”
Director of Balance, Colin Shevills welcomed the ruling, said: “We are delighted at the ASA’s decision – this is a real victory for the health community. Sections of the alcohol industry have tried to prevent us providing health messages to the public which is highly irresponsibly. It also shows an industry which is putting profits before health and wellbeing – similar tactics to those that were employed by the tobacco industry.
“The aim of this advertising campaign was to make people aware of the link between alcohol and seven types of cancer, then directing viewers to further information online so they could make their own, informed decision about how much they drink.
“Here in the North East of England we experience some of the worst alcohol related health problems. Unlike tobacco, very few people associate alcohol with cancer and we need these perceptions to change. In some of our most recent studies only 21% of people in the North East stated that alcohol greatly increases the risk of cancer – with 18% believing that alcohol doesn’t increase the risk at all.”