U.K. spirits makers under new ad rules

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[London] U.K. alcoholic-drink marketers will face tougher rules in January 2005 under a code from communications regulator Ofcom in response to concern about underage drinking and excessive alcohol consumption. Under the rules, ads can't imply that alcohol enhances attractiveness or link alcohol with "daring, toughness, aggression or anti-social behavior." Children cannot appear in ads, and no one who looks younger than 25 may play a significant role, with the exception of families "socializing responsibly." In an effort to clamp down on binge drinking, advertisers will be prohibited from making any reference to buying repeat rounds of drinks, or suggesting the success of a social occasion depends on alcohol.

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers said the code is "extremely tough but workable."

ISBA had criticized an earlier version of the proposed rules, banning personalities or cartoons that might appeal to people under 18. That was toned down to say ads can't appeal strongly to under 18s by "reflecting or being associated with youth culture."