Drinks companies voice concern over Ofcom rules

Bacardi Martini, known for its use of sexual imagery in advertising, has raised concerns about Ofcom’s recent proposal to overhaul alcohol advertising rules.

Bacardi says the proposal, which will tighten rules on ads linking alcohol to bravado, sexual attractiveness or youth appeal, is likely to put some brands’ advertising at risk.

A spokesman for Bacardi Martini says: “The proposals are significantly tougher than we had been expecting, and go further than the industry’s own proposals. We will develop our current advertising campaigns to comply with the revised codes when they come into force.”

The proposed changes also include new restrictions on the use of celebrities or the use of animation when advertising alcohol products. In the past, the memorable Budweiser “frogs” ad triggered criticism from lobby groups, which complained that the ads were attractive to teenagers and children.

A spokesman for Scottish Courage says: “We shall be seeking clarification on the use of celebrities, because it is quite ambiguous at this stage.” Scottish Courage-owned beer brand John Smith’s uses comedian Peter Kay in its high-profile ads, created by TBWA/London. Kay was recruited as the face of John Smith’s two years ago, following the decision to drop the cardboard cut-out “No Nonsense Man.”

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