Mental Health: Addiction

Jul 15th '21

Alcohol and gambling products are a potential risk for addiction, and the Codes contain specific social responsibility rules to mitigate risk of harm. As a broad summary, ads for alcohol or gambling cannot show irresponsible use of the products and behaviours that might enable or trigger addiction, with specific examples including:


  • Alcohol and gambling should not been shown to take priority in life or provide an ‘escape’
  • Neither should be seen to enhance physical qualities, confidence, or sexual success
  • Alcohol cannot be implied to have therapeutic qualities, or portrayed as capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour or as a source of nourishment


For example, the claim “People are not addicted to alcohol or drugs, they are addicted to escaping reality” (Drink Doctor Ltd, 24 May 2017) was considered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to not only encourage excessive drinking but also suggest that drinking provides a solution to personal problems and therefore ruled against the ad in which it appeared.


Sometimes advertisers may want to take a tongue-in-cheek approach, but must take appropriate care. In 2013, the ASA rejected the advertiser’s argument that ads which stated “I’d dump my boyfriend for more Fireball cinnamon whisky” and “The only thing in life more important to me than Fireball is…” had been written in jest and would not be understood by consumers to mean that alcohol should take priority in life, or that it was indispensable (Hi-Spirits Ltd, 17 July 2013).


Advertisers must also take care not to depict addiction (including drug addiction) as glamorous or desirable. Although considered under the BCAP Code, a 2011 TV ad for a perfume called ‘Belle D’Opium’ which stated “I am your addiction, I am Belle D’Opium” was ruled to breach the Code because the ASA considered that the female character’s actions simulated drug use. Had the ad appeared in non-broadcast media, it seems likely that the decision would have been similar under the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code.


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 Advice Online entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.


How can we help!

LS Consultancy are experts in Marketing and Compliance, and work with a range of firms to assist with improving their documents, processes and systems to mitigate any risk.


We provide a cost-effective and timely bespoke copy advice and copy development services to make sure all your advertising and campaigns are compliant, clear and suitable for their purpose.


Our range of innovative solutions can be tailored to suit your unique requirements, no matter whether you’re currently working from home, or are continuing to go into the office. Our services can be deployed individually or combined to form a broader solution to release your energies and focus on your clients.


Contact us today for a chat or send us an email to find out how we can support you in meeting your current and future challenges with confidence.


Explore our full range today.


Contact us



Why Not Download our FREE Brochures! Click here.


Call Us Today on 020 8087 2377 or send us an email.



We welcome individual bloggers / Professional Writers / Freelancers to submit high quality contents. Find out more…