Controversy of Bury brewer's ads

BREWING giant Greene King has run into a storm of controversy just days after launching a sexy new image for one of its best-loved beers.The Bury St Edmunds-based brewer's advertisements for Abbot Ale have attracted complaints to advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, and have been banned from the pages of the Mail on Sunday.

BREWING giant Greene King has run into a storm of controversy just days after launching a sexy new image for one of its best-loved beers.

The Bury St Edmunds-based brewer's advertisements for Abbot Ale have attracted complaints to advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, and have been banned from the pages of the Mail on Sunday.

Under the revamp of Greene King's flagship brand, its traditional wrinkled and double-chinned old cleric was ditched in favour of a slick new model and a newspaper and magazine advertising campaign was launched featuring a scantily-clad woman.

The risqué advert that appears to have caused offence features a young woman lying in bed, gripping the sheets in both hands behind her head.

It carried the strapline "Some things get better given longer" – a reference to Abbot Ale's distinctive flavour being a result of its longer brewing time.

The firm is also controversially promoting another one of its famous beers, IPA, with a series of television adverts flirting with the taboo subjects of sex, bondage and death.

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Greene King's public relations manager Frances Brace said: "The advertisements were never intended to offend anybody. The idea was that Abbot had an outdated image and that we wanted to introduce a new audience to the ale.

"The campaign was intended to be fun and humorous and light-hearted. It was designed by an all-woman team and was researched among more than 100 women. It was received extremely positively during that research."

The brewer's marketing director Sue Thomas-Taylor said the advert had been run in several national newspapers and magazines aimed at younger men, but the Mail on Sunday had refused to accept it.

She added there were no plans to scrap the adverts.

The beer is already the UK's number three premium cask ale, but Greene King said the revamp – which replaced the medieval cleric on pump clips, bottles and drip mats with a seal of approval and clean, fresh colours – and £500,000 media campaign was needed as the brand had started to look a little old-fashioned.

No-one from the Advertising Standards Authority or the Mail on Sunday was available to comment.