Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King breached advertising code with school leaflet promotion, ASA rules

One of Greene King's Hungry Horse restaurants has been found by the Advertising Standards Authority

One of Greene King's Hungry Horse restaurants has been found by the Advertising Standards Authority to have breached the advertising code on alcohol by distributing promotional leaflets via a primary school. Picture: Ian Enness - Credit: Archant

Pubs and brewing group Greene King breached the advertising code on alcohol when one of its restaurants distributed a promotional leaflet via a primary school, it has been ruled.

The logo outside one of Greene King's Hungry Horse restaurants.
Picture: Greene King

The logo outside one of Greene King's Hungry Horse restaurants. Picture: Greene King - Credit: Archant

A complainant from Northamptonshire told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the leaflet, offering “£5 off and a free drink” at a Hungry Horse restaurant, was received in their child’s school book bag.

Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King argued that the leaflet was not an alcoholic promotion, with alcohol only being mentioned in the terms and conditions on the back so that consumers were aware of which drinks were included in the offer.

It added that the terms and conditions also clearly stated the restriction against the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 18.

However, the ASA ruled that, because the leaflet was distributed to someone under 18, the code had been breached.


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It its ruling, the ASA said: “Hungry Horse said that they were a community-based pub designed to appeal to a wide range of customers, including families. They stated that if school children were handed the leaflets, it was with a view of encouraging the entire family to dine out in the pub rather than encouraging underage drinking.”

It added: “We acknowledged that the only express reference to alcohol was contained within the small print of the terms and conditions. We also noted that the leaflet did not contain any alcohol logos or brands.

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“However, we considered that because the leaflet was distributed to a person who was under 18 years of age and that the leaflet referred to alcoholic drinks, the ad breached the code.

“We told Hungry Horse to ensure marketing communications which promoted alcohol were not directed at those under 18 years of age.”

Greene King said that the ruling related to local activity undertaken by a single pub and that no money had been paid to the school in return.

A Greene King spokesman said: “The leaflet, promoting the reopening of the Sixfields Hungry Horse in Northampton, was designed to encourage families to visit the pub.

“As the ASA noted in their ruling, the only reference to alcohol was included in the small print on the back of the leaflet.

“The decision was taken locally and we have reminded our pub managers that they should not be doing any local marketing activity at schools.”

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