SAB's Castle Free falls foul of advertising watchdog
If SAB had confined itself to advertising the product as 'alcohol-free' it would have escaped sanction
Castle Free’s claim that it contains "0.0% alcohol" has left it with a slightly embarrassing hangover.
Now it faces having to relabel its alcohol-free product launched with fanfare by South African Breweries in October‚ because the small print admits: "Contains de-alcoholised beer 0.03% alcohol".
Eckard van Antwerpen complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that SAB couldn’t have it both ways‚ and the watchdog agreed.
It ordered the brewer to withdraw the "0.0% alcohol" claim and not use it again.
SAB’s attorneys‚ Adams & Adams‚ told the watchdog’s directorate that the presence of "trace amounts" of alcohol did not make Castle Free’s claim misleading.
And although there was no legal obligation on it to warn consumers about these trace amounts‚ it had done so because some consumers may wish to avoid drinking Castle Free for health‚ moral and religious reasons‚ they said
The ASA directorate said if SAB had confined itself to advertising the product as "alcohol-free" it would have escaped sanction because this is acceptable for products with an alcohol content of less than 0.05%
But it went as far as claiming "0% alcohol" and 0.0% ALC/VOL"‚ neither of which was true.
"At best‚ the labelling of the product is confusing as it contains two contradictory and mutually exclusive pieces of information‚" said the directorate.