BrewDog CEO pays out nearly £500,000 after ‘misleading’ gold beer can promo

BrewDog’s CEO has paid out nearly £500,000 to rectify the ‘misleading’ gold beer can promo (Getty Images)
BrewDog’s CEO has paid out nearly £500,000 to rectify the ‘misleading’ gold beer can promo (Getty Images)

BrewDog CEO James Watt has had to pay out nearly £500,000 because of the beer company’s “misleading” gold can promotion.

In 2021, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) found that BrewDog’s ad, which claimed that consumers would be able to find solid gold cans, was misleading.

The cans were gold-plated rather than solid gold, which led to complaints. The mix-up supposedly happened during a miscommunication between the marketing and social media teams, BrewDog said at the time.

Now, to rectify the mistake, the BrewDog boss has paid out £470,000 to the winners who found the gold cans.

Watt shared the news in a LinkedIn post on January 7, in which he said he “falsely thought the cans were made from solid gold”.

“I told customers of the prospect of finding ‘solid gold cans’. It was a silly mistake and it only appeared in around 3 of a total of 50 posts about the promotion but as it turns out, those 3 tweets were enough to do a lot of damage.”

He said the misunderstanding was born from his “excessive enthusiasm” about the campaign, and that it “morphed into a frenzy”.

“I should have been more careful. I should have checked things before I got carried away,” he wrote.

Watt revealed that he contacted the 50 winners and offered them the cash amount as an alternative – using his own money rather than the company’s money. The BrewDog CEO said he now owns 40 of the gold-plated cans.

In December, a BrewDog ad was banned for a “misleading” claim that its fruity beer constitutes “one of your five a day”.

BrewDog said the claim was a “tongue-in-cheek remark” and that existing customers would recognise the company’s “playful” marketing style.

However, the ASA said it “considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim ‘One of your five a day’ to mean that the fruit-flavoured beers in the ad’s body copy counted towards the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

“Because alcoholic drinks did not count towards a person’s ‘five a day’, we concluded that the claim was misleading.”