Ofcom to sanction children in beer ads

Ofcom could soon be under fire from lobby groups if its controversial plans to allow children to feature in alcohol television advertising go ahead later this year. The proposal forms part of a consultation document to amend the existing alcohol advertising code on TV.

The regulator is proposing to allow alcohol to be promoted responsibly as part of “normal family life” rather than as a separate or exciting adult mystery. This, it says, could include scenes of families enjoying alcohol and soft drinks together in the garden of a pub. The move is an attempt to dispel the glamour surrounding underage drinking.

Ofcom concedes that this approach could prove to be “dangerous” if younger viewers interpret the presence of their own age groups as a sign that such alcoholic products are appropriate for them. It adds that children, and anyone under the age of 25, will only be allowed to be part of alcohol advertising “incidentally”.

Meanwhile, the regulator is planning to curb the use of celebrities, sports, slapstick humour and music that appeals to teenagers in alcohol advertising.Ofcom’s consultation ended on September 24. The broadcast code on alcohol advertising is expected to be published in November.

The advertising spend on alcohol on TV was &£124m last year and represented about three per cent of total advertising revenue for all broadcasters, according to the regulator.

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