“A good week” - for whom? Context helps clear Diageo’s Guinness tweet

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

ASA clears Diageo Guinness tweet

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

A tweet from Diageo GB, which featured a photo of its Guinness brewery gates in Dublin, has been cleared by the UK advertising watchdog after Alcohol Concern alleged it was ‘irresponsible.’

A tweet from @guinnessgb featured a black and white photo of its brewery gates, stating: “A good week starts here.”

While Alcohol Concern challenged the ad for implying the week would be improved by the consumption of alcohol, Diageo argued the tweet was part of a wider campaign to tell the stories of people behind the beer - and that “a good week” referred to a good week of work for employees. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) agreed the photo was identifiable as St James Brewery in Dublin - rather than a bar or location where alcohol is consumed - and noted that the tweet did not feature alcohol drinks or the consumption of alcohol. 

The place where Guinness is brewed

Alcohol Concern believed the tweet implied the week would be improved by drinking alcohol, alleging the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the code. 

Diageo Great Britain responded that the tweet referred to a good week of work brewing Guinness. It added the brewery gates were iconic and would be interpreted by consumers as the place where Guinness is manufactured, not consumed. 

It emphasised the tweet did not feature the alcoholic product itself, and did not refer to the consumption of alcohol. 

Therefore, as a standalone comment, Diageo said it did not imply drinking alcohol was a key component of a social event or capable of changing mood or behaviour. 

Diageo also explained the tweet was part of a bigger Guinness campaign, that aimed to tell the stories of the people behind the beer. The employees at the brewery were among these - and Diageo said the tweet was made in the context of starting a “good week” of work at the brewery.

Guinness had already made more than 20 similar tweets about people who worked at the brewery, and considered twitter followers would be aware of the campaign.

Twitter would not comment on the complaint, but said it had not received any complaints.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 09.39.42

Dual meaning

The ASA cleared the tweet, acknowledging that it did not feature alcoholic products, consumption of alcohol, or a social event. 

Like Diageo, it considered the context of the tweet. 

“We noted the claim "a good week starts here" appeared alongside a simple photo of gates which were labelled as the St James Brewery in Dublin and considered that the Guinness brewery was clearly identifiable, and that consumers would not understand it to be a bar or other social venue where alcohol was consumed,” ​it said.

“We also noted that the photo was tweeted on a Monday.

“The ad was likely to be interpreted as having a dual meaning: as an expression of opinion from those who worked at the brewery about the week of work ahead and their enjoyment of their work; and as an indication to the public that Guinness, which began its journey to them at the brewery, could be consumed as part of a “good week”. 

“We did not consider that either interpretation equated to a statement about the effects of alcohol on a social event or on someone's mood, or as an encouragement to drink irresponsibly.

“On that basis, we did not consider that the ad implied that someone's week would be improved by the consumption of alcohol and we concluded that the ad was not irresponsible or in breach of the code.”

The ASA therefore cleared the ad of breaching the CAP Code rules on responsible advertising and alcohol, and said no further action was necessary. 

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