Print This Post
Advertiser: Connacht Whiskey Company
Medium: Online – Company Social Media Account
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
An image posted on one of the Company’s social media pages depicted a series of whiskey stills and casks alongside the text “The Connacht Distillery, Ireland – 150 Years of History”.
The complainant considered the advertisement misleading on the basis that it implied the distillery had been in operation for 150 years. The complainant stated that the CRO showed the company was registered in 2013 and as such could not have 150 years of history associated with it.
Connacht Whiskey stated that it was never their intention to mislead and apologised to all consumers who were misled by this advert.
They said that in another advertisement from the ad set, they openly and directly made the point that there were 150 years when there was no distillery in Mayo before their company was formed. They also stated that another ad in this set further broke down the message of ‘bringing distillation back to Mayo After 150 years’.
Connacht Whiskey stated that while they did not specifically say that the distillery was in production for 150 years in the advertisement, they did acknowledge that this could have been construed in a way that would suggest the distillery had a 150-year history. They further stated that their intention was to point to the timeline/history between distilling taking place in Mayo and did not claim to ever have been in production for 150 years.
They advised that the about page of their website that said they were:
“Founded by master distiller Robert Cassell and a team that saw the potential in Irish whiskey, the derelict old Duffy’s bakery site in Ballina was painstakingly renovated, with whiskey production commencing in 2016”.
Connacht Whiskey provided the Executive with a copy of the third page of their brochure and stated that it was sent to everyone who inquired about a cask purchase from their advertisements and that you could not complete an online purchase of a cask without being sent this brochure. Statements included on this page included “we commenced distilling and laying down casks in 2016” and “After a long wait, we proudly released Connacht Single Malt Irish Whiskey in 2021, the first whiskey to be fully produced onsite at our distillery in Ballina, and the first to be distilled in Mayo in over 150 years.”
Connacht Whiskey advised that they had removed the advertisement and pledged to be much more careful going forward to not use any language that could be misconstrued to imply that a relatively young company such as themselves could have been making whiskey for 150 years.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee noted the comments in relation to attempting to establish a timeline of distilling history in Mayo through their advertising however considered the use of the phrase “150 years of history” together with an image of their distillery, implied a period of time in which the distillery had contributed to this history.
The Complaints Committee welcomed the removal of the advertisement, however, they concluded that, on the grounds of the distillery not being in operation for 150 years, the advertisement had the potential to mislead consumers and was therefore in breach of Code Sections 4.01, 4.04, 4.09 and 4.10.
The Committee advised care in future advertising.