ADVERTISING watchdogs have banned a South Tyneside pub’s ‘offensive’ online advert which promoted binge drinking.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled today that an advert promoting Trocaderos, in Prince Georg Square, South Shields, was irresponsible and in breach of its advertising code.
The ASA upheld a complaint from alcohol watchdog Balance about Trocaderos’ ‘Thursday Night Students Hijack’ online promotion, on the grounds that it used ‘offensive language, encouraged excessive drinking and linked alcohol with sexual activity’.
Club bosses have been told the ad, which was shared via Facebook, must not appear again in its current form.
In May the Gazette ran a story on the flyer, which promoted drinks for as cheap as £1 and read: “Got Yourself Drunk at Trocs? Woke Up In Someone Else’s Bed? Walk Of Shame? **** That It’s The Stride Of Pride.”
A statement from Trocaderos today read: “We would again like to apologise for any offence was caused. We are a community pub that supports and sponsors various local charities and theatre productions.
“We also care immensely about the local economy and are trying our best to keep the nightlife of Shields.
“However, we are saddened that the original parties didn’t come direct to us, and we could have dealt with this swiftly instead of it being printed in the national press and therefore allowing it to be seen by a much wider audience than ever intended.”
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is pleased with the ASA’s decision, but thinks punishments need to be tougher.
He said: “We welcome the ASA’s decision. However, it is disappointing that this type of alcohol marketing, which is extremely irresponsible and trivialises alcohol misuse, appears to warrant no consequences – barely a slap on the wrist.
“Clearly a system which relies on individuals making a complaint, and knowing the process of how to do this, is not sufficient.
“Exposure to alcohol marketing increases drinking amongst children and young people, and more regulations are needed to protect them.
“This is particularly true on social media, which is currently under-controlled and has widespread use amongst this age group.
“What we need is regulation independent from the advertising and drinks industries, with sanctions that will deter companies from breaking the rules, particularly linking alcohol to social and sexual success.”
South Tyneside’s director of public health, Amanda Healy, added: “We are pleased that the ASA has upheld this complaint, ruling that the pub’s promotional leaflet was irresponsible.
“The reality is that drinking to this extreme can have a huge impact on health in both the short and long term.
“It makes young people and adults, particularly women, vulnerable, and more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour and to have an inability to, for example, give consent to having sex, which puts them at risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.”