Council take club night owners to Advertising Standards Authority

A controversial club night has been warned about its irresponsible advertising following a complaint by Leeds City Council.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld six of seven complaints made by Leeds City Council’s licensing department about the advertising of the Tequila UK club night, hosted by Mezz bar in Leeds city centre.

A review of the club’s premises licence was submitted by West Yorkshire Police following a large number of complaints. Subsequent enquiries made by the council’s licensing enforcement officers resulted in a formal complaint being made by the council to the advertising standards regulator – the Advertising Standards Authority.

The complaint challenged whether content in the advertisements published on Facebook, Twitter and Tequila UK’s website and three videos on YouTube breached the ASA’s advertising codes.

The council’s concerns were that a selection of the advertisements and footage were:

• irresponsible, offensive and harmful because they were sexist and promoted misogyny and the objectification of women;

• contained nudity, sexually suggestive language and imagery and profanity;

• were irresponsible because they could be viewed by those aged under 18;

• were in breach of the ASA’s code because they implied, condoned or encouraged excessive consumption of alcohol and featured alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly;

• linked alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success;

• implied that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event and;

• showed people drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in the ads who appeared to be under the age of 25.

The ASA upheld six of the seven issues the council raised. They did not uphold the challenge made that the advertisements in question were “irresponsible, offensive and harmful, because they were sexist and promoted misogyny and the objectification of women”.

The ruling means that the advertisements and videos must not appear again in their current form.

Councillor Graham Hyde, acting chair of the council’s licensing committee said:

“We are pleased that the ASA has sought fit to agree with our complaints regarding this irresponsible advertising and has ruled that these adverts must never be displayed in public again.

“This ruling should serve as a warning to other club night organisers that we will take action if we feel that the public is being subjected to offensive and harmful advertising in our city.”


In response to the complaints received Leeds City Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee reviewed Mezz’ licence and resolved to suspend the licence in the following terms:

• To suspend the licence for three months in order for a sale to be completed and for a new management team to be put in place.

• This period can be reduced on completion of the sale and a new management being put in place, to the date of completion.

• The current Designated Premises Supervisor and management team of Mezz shall not be involved in any managerial role in the management of these premises.

• Tequlia UK events shall not be held at these premises in future.

A link to the ruling on the ASA’s website is here: http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2014/2/Sam-Welply/SHP_ADJ_248058.aspx


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk