EU-wide rules for alcohol marketing launched

Eight of Europe’s biggest alcohol firms have agreed to introduce continent-wide rules on the marketing of alcohol.

AB InBev, Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, Pernod Ricard and SAB Miller have agreed the “Responsible Marketing Pact”, which is being launched today and will cover all European Union countries.

The companies will work with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and national trade associations to establish common standards on social media marketing and age appropriate advertising in each of the 27 member states

A key measure is a commitment not to target children, particularly on social media.

The eight alcohol companies said that they will only buy advertising in media “where at least 70 per cent of the audience is reasonably expected to be above legal purchase age”, and the ads themselves must not be “attractive” to kids.

Drinks brands also vowed to prevent children from “inadvertently seeing alcohol beverage marketing” on websites such as Facebook by introducing “effective age controls” on ads and user-generated content on official fan pages.

Although a voluntary agreement, the move follows pressure from the European Commission’s flagship alcohol harm reduction initiative, the European Alcohol Health Forum (EAHF) to establish rules across the European Union following concern that standards were fragmented.

The Advertising Standards Authority is expected to help to enforce the pact in the UK, with”public naming and shaming” for repeat offences.

Andrew Morgan, president of Diageo Europe, said: “The pact represents a major milestone in responsible marketing.”

The Responsible Marketing Pact

  • “Prevent minors from inadvertently seeing alcohol beverage marketing communications on social media.” Common standards on age verification, the use of Facebook Sponsored Stories for marketing purposes, user generated content will be established.
  • “Set a common adult demographic standard for alcohol beverage marketing communications across all media, thereby limiting undue exposure of minors to drinks ads.” A common stipulation that ads may only be placed in media where at least 70% of the audience is reasonably expected to be above 18.
  • “Prohibit any alcohol beverage marketing communications that might be particularly attractive to minors by ensuring that the content of ads appeals primarily to adults.” Consistent guidelines and enforcement to ensure ads primarily appeal to adults over 18.

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