Advertising watchdog found that a Brewdog advertisement claimed customers could win beer cans made of solid gold.

This online shop offered customers the opportunity to purchase a hidden gold can from the Scottish brewery.

Several winners complained to Advertising Standards Authority that the cans weren’t made of solid gold but had been gold-plated.

The ASA listened to the complainants and ruled that three misleading advertisements had been placed.

James Watt (co-founder, chief executive of Brewdog) responded to the ASA decision by saying: “We stand up, we got our first gold campaign wrong.”

  • Brewdog in row over £15,000 gold can price
  • Former Brewdog employees allege a culture of fear at the brewer
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This ruling follows heavy criticisms of Brewdog over the past months. A letter was sent by ex-workers that stated former employees had suffered from mental illness as a direct result of their work for craft beer brewer Brewdog.

Brewdog was accused of creating a culture that made it difficult for staff to express concerns.

According to the ASA there were 25 complaints about three ads on social media stating that its prize for cans was made out of solid gold.

Now it is ruling. The watchdog stated that it had “understood” that the prize comprised replica 24-carat-gold-plated cans. However, they added that, “because of the advertisement that claimed the prize came with a solid golden can,” the “adverts were misleading.”

Brewdog stated that the ASA had instructed it not to state and imply consumers receiving a solid can of gold when this was not true.

Mark Craig (one of the contest winners) still disputes the worth of the can with gold plating that he received and says it “is not worth anything”.

From Lisburn in Northern Ireland, Mr Craig said to the BBC that he was there to help the “little guy” and that he had two fingers for his customers, who have been taken advantage of by the idea.

He criticized the apology of the company, saying that it appeared to encourage people to purchase more beer as part of a new competition.

Brewdog claimed that its posts on social media which included the word “solid gold” were not correct and reiterated that it was a mistake.

Some winners also raised concerns about the authenticity of the prize and questioned the value of the can. Brewdog claimed it was valued at £15,000.

Watt stated that the company stands by the valuation it had previously claimed was based upon several factors including manufacturing cost, metal, and product quality.

The ASA said Brewdog told investigators that a single 330ml can, made with the equivalent 330ml of pure gold, would have a gold value of about $500,000 (£363,000).

According to the ASA it believed that a large audience would not be aware of “the price of gold”, how this could translate into the cost of a golden can and whether or not that contradicted the valuation in the ad.

Recent criticisms of the brewer have been intense. There are also allegations about its culture. An independent review was initiated.

According to the company’s website, over 100 interviews have been conducted with ex-staff so far as part of this review.

Former employees have previously been offered an apology by Mr Watt and promised to make them a better leader.

In a recent interview, however, he stated that the brewer should have been more clear about high-performance culture and indicated there had been a mismatch in expectations among some employees.

BBC had reported earlier that Mr Watt wrote to employees saying it was “fairly to say that this kind of fast-paced, intense environment is definitely NOT for everyone but that many of our amazing long-term staff members have thrived within our culture.”

In addition to the Brewdog ruling, the ASA also upheld a claim against Alpro’s busside advertisement.

According to the complainant, commercial almond farming causes environmental harm and he challenged the claim that the product is “good for our planet”.

The ASA issued its first decision in relation to environmental claims. It stated that there were “no qualifications” and “little context” for the claim.

Alpro also stated that the almonds in their almond beverage were grown sustainably and not from areas with harmful environmental processes.


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