Cinema alcohol ad rules fail children, says charity

Current restrictions on alcohol advertising at the cinema are being ignored putting children’s health at risk, according to a leading alcohol charity.


Research by Alcohol Concern shows that rules governing the amount of alcohol advertising shown before 12A rated movies are being broken leading to millions of children exposed to ads.

The charity investigated alcohol advertising and audience profiles for the 12A rated Batman: The Dark Knight, released last year.

It found almost half, nine from nineteen, of the total advertising loop made up of alcohol advertisements during showings by Digital Cinema Media (previously Carlton Screen Advertising).

The charity claims this means 810,000 7-14 year olds were exposed to nine alcohol adverts prior to watching the Batman film, with up to a further 590,000 likely to have been exposed.

Kathryn Jacob, president of Cinema Advertising Association, representing Pearl & Dean and DCM, says:

“Regarding the showing of alcohol commercials with the 12A rated Batman The Dark Knight, the CAP requirement states that any films carrying alcohol advertising should have an overall audience of no more than 25% of under eighteen year olds. The actual audience achieved by The Dark Knight comprised 21% under eighteens, well within the requirements of the CAP Code.   
“Nevertheless, due to the increasing concern surrounding excessive alcohol consumption, the CAA instituted a further restriction in August 2008. Since then, no films based on comic books may carry alcohol advertising unless they carry and ‘18’ certificate from the BBFC.
The CAA always remains sensitive to public concerns, and takes its responsibilities towards young audiences very seriously.”

The research is part of the charity’s response to the review of the Codes of the Committee of Advertising Practice and Committee of Broadcast Advertising Practice.

Last month, as part of the Alcohol Health Alliance, the charity called for a complete ban on price-promotion based advertising of alcohol which contributes to increased consumption and “an escalating public health crisis”.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here