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Government sticks by Responsibility Deal

British advertising body the ISBA has welcomed the government’s response to trust the industry in the face of calls to ban alcohol advertising.

Jeremy Browne, minister of state at the Home Office, recently announced in the House of Commons that the government would continue to support the Responsibility Deal.

Alcohol Concern recently called for a complete ban on alcohol advertising at music and sporting events but Browne, while reiterating the government’s commitment to tackling binge drinking, also said it planned to encourage “responsible marketing and product placement”.

Director of public affairs, Ian Twinn, said: “The government has taken a proportionate and fair approach to tackling the major issue of problem drinking in the UK.

“It has not bowed to ill-informed attempts to impose restrictions on alcohol advertising, which would punish responsible consumers and responsible advertisers, without there being any proper, ‘concrete’ evidence to show that advertising has any bearing on consumption.

“Businesses recognise they have a part to play in preventing alcohol misuse and are committed to engaging with the Government’s Responsibility Deal. We invite anti-alcohol health lobbyists to help us keep up the progress we are making in tackling binge drinking.”

The UK already has some of the toughest alcohol advertising laws in Europe. A Heineken advert was recently banned because the main character finishes an arduous trip to a football stadium (Heineken sponsored the Champions League) and drinks a beer in the stands, something that has been illegal since the 1990s.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld 15 complaints that the advert promoted irresponsible and illegal drinking as well as a further six complaints that it encouraged taking glass bottles into stadia, something which is also banned.

Heineken countered that the fantastical nature of the advert made it clear that it was not a real life situation.

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