One in 12 UK alcohol ads ‘non compliant’ with EFRD guidelines

Almost one in 12 alcohol ads shown in the UK last year infringed guidelines, according to industry body the European Forum for Responsible Drinking (EFRD).

The body reveals that 7.4% of the 1,483 alcohol ads shown in the UK in 2006 were “non-compliant”, a figure broadly in line with a year earlier. EFRD, however, believes that its 2006 monitoring report vindicates the use of self-regulation and urges the practice to continue.

The highest number of infringements appeared under the heading of sexual and/or social success, accounting for 57 of the 109 ads. A further 39 ads appealing to under-age drinkers were deemed to breach the benchmark codes, while four executions were found to be in breach of “basic principles” following investigation by advertising watchdogs.

Among the advertisers to fall foul of the rules last year were Diageo-owned Smirnoff Ice and Beverage Brands’ alcopop WKD. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that neither campaign could be shown again because they appealed to under-age drinkers (MW September 28, 2006). Both breached rules on alcohol advertising on television, which came into force on January 1, 2005.

The survey also says that across the 13 markets advertising associated with sexual and/or social success accounted for 84 out of the 192 ads, and were in breach of the benchmark codes.

The number of complaints overall and the number of those that had been upheld has been reduced against the previous monitoring period. “These observations underline that the industry at large abides by the rules it had set for itself,” the report claims. “Like the previous 2005 exercise, the 2006 project further fosters the position of self-regulation as the most efficient way to regulate alcohol advertising.”

The largest advertiser across Europe remains the beer sector, which accounts of 44% of advertising, followed by the spirits sector (27%) and wine (24%).

The number of overall executions shown in the UK – the EU’s biggest market – has decreased from 1,562 in the 12 months earlier.

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