Bottoms up without the thumbs down.

Bottomless or unlimited promotions, such as brunches, are very popular and a great way to showcase your hospitality. You take the time to plan your menu and brief your servers to ensure people partaking of alcohol do so responsibly, so make sure you do the same with your advertising.

It’s National Prosecco Day on the 13th August, so whilst you’re thinking about refreshing your customer’s taste buds, why not refresh your knowledge of the Alcohol and Promotional Marketing rules?

Most relevant to this occasion is the fact that ads should not imply, condone or encourage consumption of alcohol that would seem unwise or excessive.

  • Turn tables, but don’t turn your back on best practice

It’s important to make any limitations to your promotion clear in an ad, but be careful that they don’t create the wrong impression.

In an ad for the Suede Bar & Nightclub, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considered that an offer for bottomless prosecco, available during the two hours before midnight, amounted to an encouragement for people to drink as much as they could within a short period of time.

The Buddha Lounge got the balance right in two ads which explained that in a two-hour sitting, diners could enjoy both food and drink in a restaurant setting, without undue emphasis on the unlimited prosecco offering.

  • Overflow your hospitality, not the glass

Ads featuring alcohol must not show it being handled or served irresponsibly.  When using terms such as “unlimited” and “bottomless”, avoid imagery such as alcohol overflowing and cascading down a pyramid of glasses. It may look spectacular, but could create the impression that alcohol will be poured, and could therefore also be consumed, with unmeasured free-flowing abandon.

  • Socialising responsibly and social responsibility

Many people enjoy a social occasion – with or without alcohol – and naturally you want them to envision doing so at your venue. An ad for Prezzo sought to encourage professionals to pop down after work and celebrate payday with bottomless quantities of prosecco.

Whilst the ad indicated that the prosecco would be served responsibly at the discretion of the waiting staff, the ASA considered that overall, the ad created the impression that an excessive amount of alcohol was intended to be consumed.  On that basis, they ruled that the ad was socially irresponsible.

Source: The Committee of Advertising Practice.

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