Marketing communications for alcoholic drinks (i.e. those that exceed 1.2% alcohol by volume) should be socially responsible and should not exploit the young or the immature. They should neither encourage excessive drinking nor present abstinence or moderation in a negative way.
Marketing communications which depict or refer to alcohol may be considered under the rules of this Section, whether or not alcohol is the main product being marketed.
Advertisers should be aware that there are other requirements that alcohol marketing communications must comply with and their attention is drawn to the list under Other Requirements at 7.9.
Marketing communications may refer to the social dimension or refreshing attributes of a drink, but:
(a) should not imply that alcohol can improve physical performance or personal qualities or capabilities;
(b) should not imply that the presence or consumption of alcohol can contribute to social, sporting or business success or distinction or that those who do not drink are less likely to be acceptable or successful than those who do;
(c) should not suggest, by word or allusion that the presence or consumption of alcohol can contribute towards sexual success or make the drinker more attractive. Advertisers should take account of public sensitivities regarding coarseness and sexual innuendo in marketing communications for alcohol;
(d) should not portray drinking alcohol as a challenge nor should it be suggested that those who drink are brave, daring or tough;
(e) should not link in any way the presence or consumption of alcohol to aggressive or anti-social behaviour.
Marketing communications should not suggest that a product can mask the effects of alcohol in tests on drivers; marketing communications for breath-testing devices should include a prominent warning on the dangers of drinking and driving.
Marketing communications should not be directed at children or in any way encourage them to start drinking. Accordingly:
(a) Anyone depicted in an alcohol marketing communication should be aged over 25 and should appear to be over 25.
(b) Aspects of youth culture and treatments that are likely to appeal to children should not be used. Treatments should not portray adolescent, juvenile, childish or immature behaviour.
(c) Marketing communications should not feature personalities or characters (real or fictitious) that would have a particular appeal to children in a way that would encourage them to drink.
(d) Alcohol marketing communications should not be placed in media primarily intended for children. Advertisers should take account of the age profile so that marketing communications are communicated, so far as is possible, to adults. In this context the Authority will take account of the voluntary codes agreed by the Department of Health and Children, the drinks industry and the media as detailed under Other Requirements at 7.9.
Health and Safety
In the interests of health and safety:
(a) Marketing communications should not show, imply or encourage immoderate or irresponsible drinking or regular solitary drinking. This applies to the amount of drink, the numbers drinking or the way drinking is portrayed. The buying of a large round of drinks should not be depicted or implied.
(b) Marketing communications for alcohol should not portray drinking games or sessions or show or imply pub or club crawls.
(c) Abstinence or moderation should not be presented in a negative light.
(d) Marketing communications may not suggest, or commend, or make fun of over-indulgence or its after-effects.
(e) Marketing communications should not claim that alcohol has therapeutic qualities or that it is a stimulant, a mood-changer or a sedative, or that it is a means of boosting confidence or resolving personal conflict.
(f) Advertisers should ensure that low-alcohol drinks (i.e. those that contain 2.8% alcohol by volume or less) are not promoted in a way that encourages inappropriate consumption.
(g) Marketing communications should not depict any association with activities or locations where drinking alcohol would be unsafe, unwise or unacceptable. In particular, marketing communications should not associate the consumption of alcohol with operating machinery, driving, any activity relating to water or heights, or any other occupation that requires concentration in order to be done safely.
(h) With the exception of drinks below 2.8% alcohol by volume, which are subject to the provisions of 7.7 (f) above, factual information can be given about the alcoholic strength of a particular drink but it should not be the principal theme of any marketing communication. Drinks should not be promoted as being more intoxicating or presented as preferable because of their higher alcohol content.
Sales promotions involving alcohol that require multiple purchases should take care not to promote excessive consumption.
Attention is drawn to a number of other requirements, in addition to those in this Code, which apply to the marketing of alcohol in Ireland:
- All campaigns by drinks manufacturers solely or mainly for alcohol carried in Irish media must carry Central Copy Clearance Ireland approval.
- The voluntary codes agreed between the Department of Health and Children, the drinks industry and the media in relation to television, radio, cinema and outdoor/ambient media.
- Codes of standards, practices and prohibitions in advertising, sponsorship, and other forms of commercial promotion in broadcasting service, regulated by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.
- Code for Sponsorships by Alcohol Drinks Companies.
- Intoxicating Liquor Acts, 1998 - 2003.