Previously on marketinglaw we reported the introduction of new code provisions governing broadcast alcohol commercials. Now the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice has published guidance on the rules plus a separate code for non-broadcast ads. We pick out the key aspects and ask whatever happened to the BACC’s TV ad code guidance at
The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice
New rules and guidance for alcohol advertising were launched by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice ("BCAP"), the body affiliated with the Advertising Standards Authority which draws up and maintains the "CAP codes" governing broadcast and non-broadcast advertising in the UK.
Previously on marketinglaw we have reported progress towards the introduction of the new rules and guidance. We have pointed out that in return for a promise to publish detailed guidance on the application of the new Code, the industry won a significant softening of the initially proposed new restrictions.
All alcohol advertising appearing from 1 October 2005 will need to be compliant with the new rules.
The new BCAP guidance relates to the amended alcohol advertising rules for TV which have already been in place for some while. The new rules are tougher in four main ways:
· the extent to which sex may be linked to alcohol;
· alcohol advertising appealing to people under 18;
· requiring alcohol to be handled and served responsibly in all advertising; and
Also published at the same time were new rules for non-broadcast advertisements for alcohol. These track the changes to the broadcast rules and include requirements that:
· ads show alcohol being handled and served responsibly;
· people shown drinking should not behave in an adolescent or juvenile way and alcohol ads should not reflect the culture of people under 18; and
· links must not be made between alcohol and seduction, sexual activity or sexual success.
Why this matters:
The Government has made it plain that much stricter restrictions lie in wait for the industry if they do not toe the line in relation to this new code.
Within the industry there is most concern about the rule that alcohol ads must not be likely to appeal strongly to those under 18. The BCAP guidance indicates that ads should avoid teen fashion, music or dance as well as themes associated with youth culture, show disregard for authority or social norms and adolescent behaviour or practical jokes.
There is also still in train a separate public consultation on the introduction of new rules on health and dietary claims in radio and TV alcohol advertising. It is hoped that these will be published in August 2005.
Another aspect of this saga which is of interest is that here, for the first time, BCAP is flexing its muscles and issuing guidance on the proper interpretation of the Broadcast Advertising Code. Up until now this has been very much the province of the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, the ITV financed and run body that pre-vets all advertising on commercial television for code and law compliance.
So far, the BACC has been completely upstaged by BCAP in relation to these new booze ad rules, to the extent that the BACC's own revamped guidance notes on the interpretation of the broadcast advertising code have now been promised for what feels like at least 18 months but have still not materialised, with the BACC site continuing to state merely that the notes of guidance are undergoing radical review.
Will the BACC ever produce these revised Notes of Guidance, given that it has already been usurped in this role by the BCAP with regard to alcohol advertising? After all, what is the point of having two bodies issuing guidance on the proper interpretation of one code?