Advertising watchdog bans Ellie Goulding’s alcohol ads on Facebook

Wednesday 06 July 2022 8:42 am

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

qEllie Goulding’s Facebook page adverts have been banned after the singer said the drink was low in calories and contains no sugar, implying it was good for you.

The British singer, who is also a founder of Served Drinks, posted two ads for the alcoholic sparkling water on her Facebook page in February.

One said: “If you’re like me, you love a drink but also enjoy an active lifestyle. My delicious alcoholic sparkling water is the best of both worlds.” Further text in the post showed the number of calories in the drink.

The other read: “You guys know I love a drink, but I also really care about my well-being. Since I launched my alcoholic sparkling water there is no going back for me!”.

A video also showed the Starry Eyed songstress saying: “I love a drink, as I talk about a lot on my social media, but I also care about my health… That’s why I want to tell you about my new drink Served.” So, my new drink Served is a hard seltzer, it has 57 calories…”

On top of this, Served Drinks sent an email which read: “Forget Dry January … Is dry January becoming a little dry? There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a drink without setting you back! Our drinks only have 57 calories, 0g sugar and are 4% ABV and are the perfect choice for a tipple without all the guilt.”


Receiving complaints, the UK advertising watchdog examined whether the ads irresponsibly suggested drinking alcohol might be indispensable, encourage drinking alcohol at times that was socially acceptable, or whether the calorie and sugar content claims made in some of the posts were allowed on alcoholic beverages.

Served Drinks said Goulding’s posts of Facebook were intended to describe her lifestyle and were not general claims about health.

It also defended putting factual information about the nutritional content of its goods on the ads, without necessarily stating the alcohol was good for you.

However, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the ads and said: “Because the ads included nutrition claims that the product was low in calories and contained no sugar, which were not permitted nutrition claims for products, we concluded that they breached the Code.”

“We told Served Drinks not to make health claims, or non-permitted nutrition claims, about alcoholic drinks or imply that alcohol could overcome boredom in their advertising”, it said.

On the Dry January point, the ASA said: “We considered that the phrase, “Is dry January becoming a little dry?”, would be likely to be interpreted by consumers to mean “Is dry January becoming a little boring or tedious?” .

We noted that further text in the ad stated, “Forget Dry January” and “There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a drink without setting you back!” and considered that text was encouraging consumers who were doing Dry January to consume alcohol before the end of the month.

We considered that the overall impression of the ad was that consumers were invited to drink alcohol to overcome the boredom or tedium of Dry January.”

Commenting on the decision, Served Drinks said in a statement: “We are committed to responsible advertising, and we work closely with organizations such as CAP (the Committee of Advertising Practice) in the development of campaign materials.

“While we are disappointed that the complaints were upheld in part, we respect the ASA’s ruling. All ads were immediately removed and will not feature again.”

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