A spirits company in the UK has been censured by an advertising watchdog over its marketing for CBD-infused rum.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) upheld complaints about The Cornish Rum Company’s Dead Man’s Fingers cannabis-infused Hemp Rum.
The Scottish Government’s Alcohol Harm Prevention Team challenged two Instagram posts and an ad in the industry magazine Scottish Licensed Trade News.
According to the ASA’s judgement, the first Instagram post, from July 2 2019, included text which stated: “HEMP RUM, COMING TO A JOINT NEAR YOU”.
The other Instagram post showed a photo of an outdoor ad which stated: “WARNING: OUR HEMP RUM MIGHT CAUSE THE MUNCHIES”. In the background of the outdoor ad there was an image of a skull which was smoking.
The post’s caption included text which stated “So, now you know – our new rum – Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp. It will quite literally blow your mind”.
The trade magazine ad, seen July 2019, included text which stated “DEALERS WANTED”.
The Cornish Rum Company told the ASA they adopted commonly used slang words in their ads but they did not believe that linked their CBD product to cannabis.
They said ‘joint’ was a slang term for a place or establishment, and ‘munchies’ was a slang term for hunger and was used in the context that consumption of alcohol caused people to feel hungry.
The company said ‘dealers’ was used as a slang term for someone who bought or sold any goods or products and it was used to attract trade customers to sell their product.
But the ASA ruled that the ads link alcohol to illicit drugs and imply that alcohol had therapeutic qualities, and were therefore a breach of advertising rules.
A spokesperson for The Cornish Rum Company, said: “While we strongly disagree with the complaint and the resulting ruling by the ASA, we understand that responsible advertising is required.”
A press release from Dead Man’s Fingers launch in August says it aims to tap into the interest and growth in legal cannabis and CBD in the UK and beyond.
The company says the Hemp Rum gives “hints of cola, coffee, hops and pine with a grassy herbal back note, and is best enjoyed mixed as a ‘Hemp & Coke’.”
Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp Rum is available in a 70cl format. It is bottled at 40% ABV and comes with an RRP of £22.