As the regulatory onslaught on booze advertising continues, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice announced further restrictions for TV and radio, this time focusing on health and therapeutic claims.
Who: The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice
Where: High Holborn, London
When: April 2006
In early April, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) announced two tighter changes to the regulation of alcohol advertising on TV and radio.
Broadcast advertisements must no longer suggest that alcohol has therapeutic qualities nor offer it as a stimulant, sedative, mood-changer or source of nourishment, or to boost confidence. Marketers may continue to refer to alcoholic products as refreshment, but ads cannot claim that alcohol can improve physical or mental performance nor that it is necessary to maintain a normal lifestyle.
The second revision is in the context of health, diet and nutritional claims. Ads for alcoholic drinks must not make any type of health, fitness, weight control or nutritional content claim. For example, if a brand name implies a health or fitness benefit, the ad should make it clear that the product is not an aid to health or fitness. Advertisers may make factual statements and comparisons as to product contents. However, in an attempt to catch misleading, Atkins- friendly promises (carbohydrate content is generally low in alcoholic products), any information as to carbohydrate content must be accompanied by the calorie content.
Marketers have a grace period of three months to get their campaigns into compliant shape. From 3 July onwards, all TV and radio alcohol ads will have to comply with the new rules.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will now consider whether this approach should be applied to alcohol ads in non-broadcast media.
Why it matters:
Over the last 50 years, alcohol consumption has doubled in the UK and now at least 90% of adults regularly consume alcohol. The industry's concern with irresponsible drinking is not new, nor is it blind to reports in the press that suggest that UK's drinking is getting out of control; a recent survey crowned the UK as Western Europe's binge drinking champion!
Against this background, food and drink advertisers have increasingly been making health and fitness claims. Alcohol ads are no exception. It will be interesting to see how the ASA interprets the spirit of the rules: just how healthy and happy can a person in an alcohol ad look?