AN anti-climate change advertising poster from Scottish craft brewer BrewDog has been banned by a watchdog.

The promotion featured an expletive partially hidden by a beer can. It included large text reading “F**K You CO2. Brewdog Beer Is Now Carbon Negative” with the letters between F and K obscured by a can of Brewdog Punk IPA.

It was posted on three billboards in London including one near a school – one in Newcastle and another in George Square in Glasgow. A full or double-page advert identical to the poster was also published in Metro, The Week and The Economist.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) looked at both cases and upheld one investigation while the other is upheld in part, ruling the advert “must not appear again in the form complained of unless suitably targeted”.

In its assessment of the poster, the authority said: “The ASA acknowledged the poster showed an obscured version of the word ‘f***’; that it had been placed in accordance with guidelines on proximity to schools and religious buildings; that the ad had run during school summer holidays and that one local authority (Newcastle City Council), had been asked and considered the ad acceptable for use.

READ MORE: BrewDog looks to a cleaner future as crowdfunding programme comes to an end

"Nevertheless, we considered it would be clear to most of those who saw it that the ad referred to the word ‘f***’ in the context of the expression ‘f*** you’ and was making a pun, in reference to the impact of climate change.

“We considered the word ‘f***’ was so likely to offend a general audience that such a reference should not appear in media where it was viewable by such an audience.”

In response to the judgment, BrewDog said it “wanted to shock people into thinking about the planet and reducing and removing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere”.

The ASA said: “BrewDog said it had consulted a range of outdoor contractors on the campaign and its environmental message versus the potential for offence. It said the campaign had run at a time when schools were closed for the summer holidays and so any exposure to the ad by children going to or from school would have been limited.

“BrewDog said the ads implied a swear word but that it was not explicitly stated, which they believed followed precedent of what was acceptable. It did not believe the message would have caused harm or offence.

“Newcastle City Council considered the content to be acceptable. [Advertising firm] City Outdoor took from that that other local councils would have a similar view.

For the press advert, the ASA said that while most Metro readers are adults, “as a widely available, free newspaper, the ad was untargeted”. It said “an obscured version of the word ‘f***’ reflected similar use of language elsewhere in The Week and The Economist and, in light of its intended message, was not out of place”.