Language used included ‘Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards’, and despite the ASA’s censure, and its apparent belief that BrewDog will comply with its ruling, co-founder James Watt told BeverageDaily.com this morning: “We actually just took down the statement on our website to make room for the equity for punks stuff.
“Soon, we will be putting the statement back on our website. We believe in freedom of speech and artistic expression. We don’t believe in mindless censorship. As for the ASA – those mother f*ckers don’t have any jurisdiction over us anyway.”
An ASA spokeseman responded: "This is classed as marketing under our remit and therefore subject to the code, so we do have jurisdiction.
"But the claims were willingly taken down by BrewDog and we hope they continue to adhere to the ruling. If they don't we'll look at next steps."
And in other news…Man wears dress
Self-styled ‘craft beer revolutionaries’ BrewDog are no strangers to polemic, and subsist on a serial diet of swear words and shock marketing while (how daring darling!) one of its co-founders is possibly the first man ever to wear a dress, though that’s just my surmise.
Previous contretemps include a spat with Diageo over the Bar Operator of the Year awards – over an admittedly shocking fix – where BrewDog ‘Captain’ James (his whole ‘crew’ seemingly have nautical names) slammed a “scared and jealous…gimp-like” beerestablishment.
None of which has stopped BrewDog threatening recourse to the presumably non-gimp-like legal establishment when the Portman Group told supermarkets to delist its ‘Speedball’ beer in 2009.
‘Anarchy and caramel craziness’
Well today the ASA drew the line over text (now removed) on the BrewDog website that it was a “post-Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery”.
“Say goodbye to the corporate beer whores crazy for power and world domination…Ride toward anarchy and caramel craziness,” it added.
“Let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits. Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards.”
The jibes against ‘corporate beer’ are somewhat ironic, given that BrewDog (beyond brewing admittedly good beer) has built a sizeable £14m ($21m) business (2012 sales) on the back of a marketing lexis that’s edgier than a dodecahedron, coupled with claims it’s a business like no other business.
Anyway, the ASA was unimpressed by BrewDog’s website, and said today: “Given the general tone of the page, and in particular the use of ‘mother fu*ker’, we considered the language used was gratuitous and concluded that the page was likely to cause serious offence to some visitors…”
Sanctions could include...
The ASA referred the case to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) compliance team, which ensures that ‘advertisers’ comply with the former body’s rulings. None of which, seemingly, has caused BrewDog to scuttle off with its tail between its legs.
Online sanctions could include a 'name and shame' section on the ASA website, removal of paid search criteria for advertisers (by working with search engines) and replacement with the authority's own results.
"But we hope we don't have to go down the road of sanctions," the ASA spokesman said.