Hospitality Ulster has referred the Coach Nightclub in Banbridge to the Responsible Retailing Code’s independent complaints panel over a post A-level party promotion for students.
The offending poster promotion used an image from the 2012 film, Project X, which depicted a young man lying face down, unconscious and surrounded by empty disposable drinks cups.
But Hospitality Ulster’s chief executive, Colin Neill, warned that ‘irresponsible promotions’ had no place in the industry. Condemning the Coach poster, he said:
‘We believe the imagery association with this promotion is unacceptable…No promotion should encourage the over-consumption or abuse of alcohol and licensees have a responsibility, both legal and moral, to ensure they promote the consumption of alcohol in a responsible way.’
Mr Neill said that with the growth in the popularity of social media, it was more important than ever to ensure that staff and promoters were aware of the Responsible Retailing Code.
The issue was discussed at length this morning (August 16) on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show phone-in programme. During the debate, Jim Wells of the DUP said that he thought the party promotion poster was ‘appalling’ and vowed to raise the issue with Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, which enforces licensing laws in the area.
‘The signal [Coach Nightclub] is sending out here is that you should drink yourself into the ground,’ said Mr Wells, who no longer speaks for the party since losing the whip. ‘I think this highlights the need for minimum unit pricing, which would stop this happening.
‘This message is ‘drink irresponsibly’, and, if you’re going out, drink until you fall flat on your face,” he said.
For its part, Coach Nightclub pointed out that its marketing of the post-exam celebration was in keeping with the marketing of the Project X film. The image, it pointed out, was taken from the cover of the movie DVD.
In a statement, Coach said:
‘While we understand the potential concern, our staff are trained to identify when patrons have potentially over-indulged. We have first aid staff on site at all times. We encourage responsible alcohol consumption. There are no drink-limited offerings and no sale of more than two spirit measures per serve.’