Last year Brewdog announced a new promotion inviting customers to seek out a gold can. They tweeted “Dear People Of The World, 10 solid gold Punk IPA cans are hidden in Punk 12-packs which will ship from our online shop over the next 4 weeks. Winners receive a gold can worth £15K, 10K of BrewDog shares & VIP tour of our Brewery”. Further social media posts offering more gold cans appeared in February 2021: “We’ve hidden 5 gold wrapped cans in 12, 24 and 48-packs of Hazy Jane on our online store. Find the wrapped can and you can claim a solid gold, 24-carat one”.
Gold Can Worth £500
All this sounds great but things started to unravel for Brewdog when a winner of a gold can had the prize valued. According to The BBC, Adam Dean, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire had his winning can valued and discovered that it was only worth £500. The can was made from brass with a 24 carat gold plating. Whilst Brewdog did liase with those that had raised this issue complaints were also made to Advertising Standards. This week ASA have – unsurprisingly – concluded that Brewdog’s ads were misleading.
24 Carat Gold Plated Cans
According to the ASA report Brewdog explained that “the promotional cans were gold plated and were manufactured by Thomas Lyte, one of the most reputable goldsmiths in the world, using materials of the highest quality. They provided a certificate from the manufacturer to confirm the cans were plated in 24 carat gold”. They also “accepted they should not have used the word “solid” in their initial Tweets and they said they had apologised publicly for doing so”. However they still made claims the can was worth £15,000 when it was in fact worth £500 although in the ASA report Brewdog suggest that a 24 carat solid gold can would have cost $500,000 to make!
£15,000 Buy Back
ASA ruled in favour of the 25 complainants and “told BrewDog plc not to state or imply that consumers would receive a solid gold can when that was not the case. We also told them to conduct their promotions equitably and fairly, and to avoid causing unnecessary disappointment”. Usually that’s the end of the story when it comes to these kind of complaints. However there’s good news for winners from the first competition as James Watt, founder of Brewdog has announced that they have offered “all of the winners from the first round the cash equivalent”. And the drinks are on Superlucky Di because she was one of the lucky winners who’s been offered £15,000 to buy back the gold can!
A New Competition
And if all that wasn’t enough Brewdog are jumping back into the competition world with A Gold Plated Apology. For the chance to win one of ten diamond encrusted gold-plated cans OR £25k cash equivalent you simply need to purchase selected products. These products will earn a number of entries into a prize draw. For example a case of 12 cans of Elvis Juice is 1 entry, but 48 cans of Lost Lager is 4 entries. A winner will be drawn every calendar day (from 20/10/21) until all 10 prizes have been claimed on 30th October 2021. Brewdog do make it clear that “no gold can will be included in the beer shipped to you”.
All’s Well That Ends Well
This has been a costly promotion for Brewdog who haven’t had the best of years after whistleblowers exposed toxic working conditions. The gold can scandal just added to those issues. However by offering the original winners £15,000 cash for their cans and then running a new promotion Brewdog are on full scale damage limitation. We suspect they’ll be plenty of column inches with respect to the ASA ruling but this will most certainly be offset by honouring the original competition and the new one. Let’s hope Gold Can The Sequel runs without as much controversy – but then controversy does generate plenty of publicity doesn’t it?