Anti-binge-drinking ad escapes ban from ASA

LONDON - Radio and TV ads for the Home Office warning men and women against exceeding the recommended number of units of alcohol per day have escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority.

DoH ad... no action taken
DoH ad... no action taken

The ads detailed how many units are contained within a gin and tonic, a bottle of wine and a pint of beer, among other alcoholic beverages.

The ads each ended with: "Did you know that if women regularly exceeded two to three units of alcohol per day, or if men regularly exceeded three to four units of alcohol per day, it could add up to a serious health problem?"

The strapline in each ad stated: "Units. They all add up."

Two complainants challenged whether the ads were misleading and could be substantiated, particularly if a person were only to exceed the maximum recommended guidelines by one unit and didn’t have any contributing factors such as obesity, smoking, poor diet or lack of exercise.

The Department of Health said the ads were part of the first phase of a campaign to raise awareness of the Government’s sensible drinking guidelines.

The ads were intended to highlight the serious risks associated with regularly exceeding recommended guidelines, and the increased potential for developing liver disease, high blood pressure and breast cancer.

The ASA found that due to the conditional phrasing "if women regularly exceeded two to three units of alcohol per day or if men regularly exceeded three to four units of alcohol per day, it could add up to a serious health problem", viewers were unlikely to be misled by the claims.

No further action was necessary.