ASA raps Axe the Beer Tax ad

The British Beer & Pub Association’s Axe the Beer Tax campaign has been forced to change its message after a Camra member made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad, which appeared in Camra’s What’s Brewing newspaper, showed a pint glass and text saying “the Chancellor takes 33% of a pint of beer and now wants even more”.

The Camra member said it gave the impression that 33% of the price of a pint in the pub paid by the consumer was tax applied by the government, which is not the case.

The ASA upheld the complaint and said the BBPA had calculated the amount of duty of total beer sold in the UK, which included off-licences and supermarkets. Because off-sales were included, the ad gave the impression the proportion of the cost of a pint in the pub paid to the government was more than it was and the ad was likely to mislead the public.

But BBPA acting chief executive David Long said the 33% figure only related to alcohol duty and VAT: “It therefore underestimates the total tax burden on British beer when one includes business, employer and other taxes.

“Taken together, the total tax paid on every pint is in fact 39%, and the BBPA will certainly make this clear in any future ad we do."