Sun, Sea, and Responsible Marketing – how to do this summer right!

Jul 6th '22

Make sure your marketing doesn’t get rained off this summer by avoiding these compliance pit falls.


With grey clouds looming, and threating downpours making their way across the country, we all know it can only mean one thing – it’s summer in the UK. For many, this will mean enjoying their summer holidays relaxing, resting, and enjoying a well-earned break.


For alcohol marketers, this is a great time to introduce a summer tipple – but whether it’s a fruity cocktail or a beer perfectly paired with a BBQ, it’s important to keep the Code in mind to avoid potential issues. So, what are some things to be mindful of?


  • Socialising or being more fun

While it is likely to be acceptable to show alcohol as a legitimate accompaniment to a social setting (like a party or BBQ) you will need to take care that your marketing doesn’t suggest that people will become socially successful because they are drinking. You should avoid any suggestion that a person or event is boring and that alcohol is the catalyst to having a good time and being popular. Remember that the good times are created by the people and party experience – not the alcohol!


Equally, you should be mindful of suggesting that alcohol can help a person relax or be less inhibited. While its likely to be acceptable to suggest that your drink is perfect for pairing with a BBQ, you should avoid any suggestion that it will relax a person or change their mood or behaviour. Instead, we’d suggest focusing on the taste and quality of the product rather than suggesting it has a therapeutic quality.


  • Don’t sink or swim

Its not just alcohol packaging that will be covered by the Code, but promotions as well. Year on year we see requests in the Advisory Service that involve alcohol and swimming. This could be a promotional event at a summer party, or even sampling by the pool. However, it has long been the Advisory Service’s view that it is unlikely to be acceptable to encourage people to drink around a body of water. Offering samples or running promotions in areas where people are going to be swimming is likely to be viewed as indirectly encouraging dangerous behaviour. Instead, think about where it might be better to host a promotion or sampling event – at a park, or in the on-trade for example.


  • We’re all going on a summer holiday

You might be thinking of delighting your customers with a chance to ‘win a holiday’ this summer but there are some things to bear in mind when running this type of promotion. To avoid indirectly encouraging immoderate consumption you should think about placing a limit on the amount of times a consumer can enter a competition. You could also have the entry mechanism on the label of the product so that a person doesn’t need to open (and therefore consume) the alcohol in a short space of time to participate. If you are running a promotion like this, it’s always worth checking the parts that cross into the Advertising Standards Authority’s remit (such as the T&C’s) with their Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Copy Advice Team.


The Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines state that a person should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and this should include drink free days. Portman Group guidance stipulates that a person should not be encouraged to drink over four units by themselves in one sitting. With that in mind, you should ensure that the mechanics of the promotion do not indirectly encourage this type of immoderate consumption.


  • Need more help?

You can find out more through our guidance which is available on our website here, or you can get in touch with the Advisory Service* for a free, confidential non-binding view here.


(* the Advisory Service unfortunately cannot help with the weather).


Source: Portman Group




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