The rules in this Section are designed to ensure that the content of alcohol advertising and promotion is consistent with the need for demonstrating responsibility and moderation in consumption, and that it does not encourage consumption by children.
The rules in this Section apply to marketing communications for alcoholic drinks and to marketing communications that feature, or refer to, alcoholic drinks.
Alcoholic drinks are defined as those that exceed 1.2% alcohol by volume. They include products that are classified as foodstuffs rather than drinks for the purposes of licensing or customs and excise legislation, or even if they appear to be gaseous, solid or heavily textured (or can be made to be, for example by freezing or shaking), rather than liquid.
Where stated, exceptions are made for low-alcohol drinks (those that contain 2.8% alcohol by volume or less). But, if a marketing communication for a low-alcohol drink could be considered to promote a stronger alcoholic drink, or if the drink’s low-alcohol content is not stated clearly in the marketing communications, all the rules in this Section apply.
If a soft drink is promoted as a mixer, the rules in this Section apply in full.
These rules are not intended to inhibit responsible marketing communications that are intended to counter problem drinking or inform consumers about alcohol-related health or safety themes. Marketing communications of that type should not, however, be likely to promote an alcohol product or brand.
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, or to a specific alcohol brand or company, 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 should comply with and their attention is drawn to the list under Other Requirements at 9.12.
Marketing communications may refer to the social dimension or refreshing attributes of a drink, but:
(a) Should not state, depict or imply that the presence or consumption of alcohol can improve physical performance or personal qualities or capabilities.
(b) Should not state, depict or 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 state, depict or 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 and should not state, depict or suggest that those who drink are brave, daring or tough.
(e) Should not link in any way the presence or consumption of alcohol to aggressive, unruly, irresponsible 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.
(a) Anyone depicted in an alcohol marketing communication should be aged over 25 and should appear to be over 25.
(i) The preceding rule may not apply if the marketing communication shows an image of people attending an over 18s ticketed event which appears either on the advertiser’s owned media (such as, for example, an advertiser’s own website) or on an advertiser’s social media page provided such media are accessed through a secure and appropriate Age Verification System and provided the person depicted:
• appears to be clearly over 18 years of age
• is not playing a significant role
• cannot be seen consuming alcohol
• does not appear to be under the influence of, or have consumed, alcohol prior to the events depicted in the marketing communication.
(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 use or refer to identifiable heroes or heroines of the young. See Guidance Note on Alcohol Marketing Communications at www.asai.ie.
(d) Marketing communications should not feature personalities or characters (real or fictitious) that would have a particular appeal to children.
(e) Alcohol marketing communications should not be placed in media primarily intended for children. Advertisers should take account of the audience’s age profile so that marketing communications are communicated, so far as is possible, to adults. In this context
the ASAI will have regard to the Alcohol Marketing, Communication and Sponsorship Codes of Practice, agreed by the Department of Health, the drinks industry, and the media as
detailed under Other Requirements at 9.12.
(f) Digital media, including apps, that primarily promote an alcohol brand should be age gated through a secure and appropriate Age Verification System. See Guidance Note on Alcohol Marketing Communications at www.asai.ie.
(a) Marketing communications should only depict or imply the responsible and moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks.
(b) Marketing communications should not show, imply or encourage immoderate or irresponsible drinking or regular solitary drinking. This applies to the amount of alcohol, the numbers drinking or the way drinking is portrayed. The buying of a large round of drinks should not be depicted or implied.
(c) Marketing communications for alcohol should not portray drinking games or sessions, or show or imply pub or club crawls.
(d) Abstinence or moderation should not be presented in a negative light.
(e) Marketing communications should not attempt to influence nondrinkers of any age to drink or to purchase alcoholic drinks.
(f) Marketing communications may not suggest, or commend, or make fun of over-indulgence in respect of alcohol or its after-effects.
(g) 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 or can be transformative of an individual or a situation or that it is a means of boosting confidence or resolving personal conflict.
(h) Marketing communications should not depict any direct association with the consumption of alcoholic drinks and activities or locations where drinking alcohol would be unsafe, unwise or unacceptable. Where consumption is shown or implied it should not be represented as having taken place before or during engagement of the activity in question.
(i) 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.
(j) Factual information can be given about the alcoholic strength of a particular drink. However, with the exception of low-alcohol drinks (i.e. those that contain 2.8% alcohol by volume or less) 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.
(k) 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.
Terms and conditions for promotions involving alcohol should make it clear:
(a) That entry is restricted to those 18 years of age and older.
(b) That prizes and/or gifts will only be awarded to those 18 years of age or older.
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 should carry Copy Clear approval.
• The voluntary codes agreed between the Department of Health, 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 Authority of Ireland.
• Code for Sponsorships by Alcohol Drinks Companies.
• Intoxicating Liquor Acts, 1988 – 2008.
• Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland Code.