Club’s A-Levels promotion found to breach code

Duncan McCausland, Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel of the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retailing of Alcohol
Duncan McCausland, Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel of the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retailing of Alcohol

Banbridge’s Coach nightclub has acknowledged its marketing recently ‘overstepped the mark’.

The acknowledgment came with an unreserved apology

after the Independent Complaints Panel of the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retailing of Alcohol found against the Coach for its ‘Project X A-Level Results’ promotion in August this year.

The promotion, rolled out ahead of the A-Level results celebrations, used imagery of a young man, face down, after what appeared to be a binge drinking session.

The panel found against the Coach nightclub on the grounds that it: “encouraged illegal, excessive or irresponsible drinking such as binge-drinking and drunkenness; incorporated images of people who are, or look as though they are, under 25 years of age in promotional material; did not state specifically that no-one under the age of 18 years may take part in the promotion.”

At the same time the panel commended Coach management for its full co-operation with the investigation, noting both its public apology and assurance that future promotions would be fully compliant.

The code is a self-regulatory measure introduced by the industry to outlines the standards expected of those involved in the production, promotion, retail and service of alcohol in Northern Ireland.

Duncan McCausland, Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel said: “This was a straightforward adjudication and it was clear to the panel that there was a breach in several areas by the Coach nightclub with this specific promotion.

“ . . .The next step for the panel is to write to the PSNI and the council to inform them of our decision to complete the assessment and adjudication process.”

A coach spokesperson said: “We acknowledge that our marketing overstepped the mark and will ensure that we meet with the standards required in future.

“Our priority is that our customers are safe and can have a good time in an environment that does not put their wellbeing in jeopardy.

“We apologise unreservedly.

“It was not our intention to promote excessive behaviour and have taken appropriate actions to adapt our marketing in future.”