In October 2005, Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) brought in new, stricter rules about the marketing of alcoholic drinks. The changes were a result of widespread concern about drinking behaviour such as excessive or binge drinking and anti-social behaviour, especially amongst young people.

Marketers of alcoholic drinks were always expected to portray their alcoholic product responsibly – however, the changes tightened the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) position. The rules now state explicitly that they apply irrespective of whether the product is shown or seen being consumed. It’s also important to note that even if a marketer is not an alcoholic drink manufacturer/supplier, if their ad shows an alcoholic product, their ad is subject to these alcohol rules.

In short, advertisers must ensure:

Marketers are also reminded that there are various rules for:

As with all subjective decisions, it is sometimes difficult to pre-judge whether the ASA will rule against certain executions. Given the socio-political climate in which alcohol marketers now operate, the Copy Advice team tends to take a cautious approach when giving advice on alcohol ads.

Whilst the ASA cannot comment on the packaging and names of alcoholic drinks, the Portman Group, an industry trade group, should be able to do so.

Source: CAP

Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA.

CAP’s AdviceOnline entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.

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