Bill’s censured over bottomless prosecco deal

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

Bill’s censured over bottomless prosecco deal

Related tags Advertising standards authority Bill's Casual dining Multi-site Alcohol advertising

Bill’s Restaurants has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for an ad which 'condoned and encouraged the excessive consumption of alcohol'.

The complaint concerned a marketing email from Bill’s Soho headed ‘Bottomless Prosecco to beat the heat!’ with the offer promoting 90 minutes of unlimited prosecco for £16.50 per person.

Two complainants challenged whether the ads were socially irresponsible because they implied, condoned, or encouraged excessive consumption of alcohol.

Bill’s said that they were a restaurant chain which was generally not perceived by the public as being associated with the excessive consumption of alcohol or as a purely 'drink based' establishment.

It believed the ads made it clear that the Bottomless Prosecco promotion was exclusively available with the purchase of a meal, with the majority of the wording being used to describe and promote the food element of the promotion.

The promotion was subject to further terms and conditions published on the Bill’s website expressly aimed at encouraging responsible drinking, including: being available on weekends only; being available during the daytime only (11:30am to 5pm); a non-alcoholic option being available; and the customer being expressly encouraged to drink responsibly.

Bill’s did accept, however, that the ads’ use of the phrase 'beat the heat' or to enjoy bottomless prosecco 'this heatwave weekend' could be interpreted as encouraging consumers to drink prosecco in the hot weather.

It said future ads for the promotion would prominently advertise a 'non-alcoholic option', include a statement that drinking to excess will not be permitted, and that participants are required to drink responsibly at all times along with a link to their T&Cs and the Drink Aware website.

The ASA complaint was upheld, with a reference to 'several' glasses of prosecco found to have condoned and encouraged excessive drinking.

The ads also irresponsibly encouraged excessive drinking in circumstances where the excessive consumption of alcohol was especially dangerous during the heatwave, the ASA found.

The ads breached CAP Code and must not appear again in the form complained of.

Bill’s Restaurants was told to ensure that future ads are socially responsible and do not condone or encourage excessive drinking generally.

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