River Rock Scotch whiskey advertisement “banned” for “irresponsible” link with mountaineering


A Scottish whiskey company has had an “irresponsible” advertising campaign banned for linking alcohol consumption to mountaineering.

Advertising standards banned an advertisement on Facebook and on a website for River Rock single malt Scotch whiskey after a complaint in which the ads were described as “irresponsible” because they linked alcohol to an activity in which the consumption of scotch. alcohol would be dangerous. River Rock’s Facebook page was titled Whiskey & the Wilderness.

The text read: “What better way to celebrate the launch of lot # 2 than with a whiskey tasting at 3,500 feet?” Read our blog on the memorable tasting of last December… ”.

It was accompanied by images of people doing mountaineering. A bottle of whiskey was shown with the climbers in one of the images.

A second ad, a page on the riverrockwhisky.org website said, “What better way to mark the launch of River Rock Lot # 2 than by peaking at 3,500 feet for a wild whiskey tasting with good friends?”

The ASA considered that consumers were likely to interpret this to mean that whiskey had been consumed at this altitude.

A River Rock promotion as featured in the Whiskey and the Wilderness section of the website on Tuesday, and which was first published in January

He was referring to the launch of the second batch of whiskey with a “mountaineering adventure” on the Black Mount mountain group which stands on the border of the communal areas of Argyll and Bute and the Highlands.

He described how they were to “summit” Stob Ghabhar which was “characterized by its narrow rocky ridges and steep sides”.

He continued, “As with all good adventures, the conditions and the landscape were constantly changing and when the weather started to approach it was waterproof and ice axes for the snowy ascent. Winding in single file with the snow and the mist closing in. Thick snow at the top, with 100 foot drops and narrow ridges for a rewarding and memorable whiskey tasting … “.

The ad featured various images of climbers climbing the mountain.

One image showed a bottle of River Rock poured into small tumblers. Another showed someone pouring whiskey into another climber’s mug.

The last paragraph read: “The evening ended with a welcome drink around the fire and a toast to good friends”, and was accompanied by a picture of the group standing around a fire with cups in hand and a person pouring whiskey into another person’s glass. Cup.

The ASA said that although it acknowledged that the last paragraph referred to climbers in the parking lot after descending the mountain, “that does not detract from the strong impression that whiskey was consumed on the mountain, after which the participants should descend during dangerous weather conditions and difficult terrain.

The ASA said advertising rules state that promotions must not tie alcohol to activities or places in which alcohol consumption would be dangerous.

It allowed alcohol advertisements to feature sports or physical activities, but stipulated that the advertisements should not imply that these activities had been undertaken after alcohol consumption.

Herald Scotland:

A River Rock promotion as featured in the Whiskey and the Wilderness section of the website on Tuesday, and which was first published in January

He said: “Advertisements should no longer appear in their current form. We have asked RR Whiskey Ltd to ensure that their advertisements are not irresponsible in the future, for example by linking alcohol to activities. or places in which alcohol consumption would be dangerous or suggesting that sports or other physical activities had been undertaken after alcohol consumption.

The alcohol was produced by Fife-based RR Whiskey Ltd, which said it did not believe the ads showed people drinking in an unsafe situation or indicated that unsafe activities should be undertaken during or after consuming their product.

And although the ads featured images of mountains and people walking, the company did not believe the ads implied or indicated that the people featured had consumed whiskey.

They pointed out that bottle and shot images were commonly used in whiskey marketing and gave a sense of where the whiskey was made.

The company said a shot of poured whiskey involved people in a safe outdoor environment with a waterfall bottom and insisted the ads neither directed nor encouraged people to drink whiskey at the top of a mountain.

They claimed that the only drinks and whiskey tasting were after the walk.

They recognized this by asking the question “What better way to celebrate the launch of Lot # 2 than with a whiskey tasting at 3,500 feet?” they may have inadvertently implied that the drinking had taken place there. In fact, the tasting took place in the parking lot after the walk and they thought the imagery used clearly demonstrated this.

A spokesperson for the company said River Rock had updated its content to “make sure it was clear to the reader that the whiskey was being consumed at the end of the day the footage was taken.”

The spokesperson added: “Mountaineering images are still allowed to be used to promote River Rock as long as the wording is still clear that no alcohol has been consumed before or during outdoor activities.”

A trio of whiskey experts with over 70 years of experience designing some of Scotland’s best single malt brands launched the whiskey in the fall of last year with the aim, they say, to “Make the whiskey more welcoming”.

River Rock single malt Scotch whiskey is the brainchild of three former directors of Edrington, Mark Geary, Laura Anderson and Bill Farrar, who have worked on major single malt whiskey brands including The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes.

The brand aimed to challenge the “elitist image” that can sometimes be associated with malt whiskey.

And when it was launched, it was said to be inspired by a passion for the outdoors and a commitment to protect the environment.