labels: Brand Dossier
Alcohol Advertising Compliance Survey 2007 news
15 November 2008

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), UK has published the findings of its Alcohol Advertising Compliance Survey 2007. The report reveals that a significantly high proportion of alcohol ads, 97 per cent were compliant with the Advertising Codes.

In addition to the general advertising codes, alcohol ads are subject to category specific rules. The alcohol rules were considerably tightened in 2005 and are designed to protect people under 18 years of age by preventing ads from being associated with or reflecting youth culture; encouraging irresponsible or dangerous behaviour or linking alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success.

The ASA Compliance team assessed 463 ads across non-broadcast and broadcast media during the Christmas advertising period (1-24 December 2007). Just 12 ads (3 per cent) were considered to be in breach of the alcohol advertising rules. Those ads that were considered in breach of the Codes were problematic because they:

  • Linked alcohol with overcoming boredom at work'
  • Linked alcohol with seduction
  • Portrayed alcohol consumption as a challenge and linked alcohol with daring behaviour
  • Implied alcohol contributed to popularity and confidence
  • Implied immoderate drinking was taking place

Half of the breaches occurred in press and outdoor ads. However, 80 per cent of the surveyed ads fell into this category and encouragingly the overall compliance rate for this category was 98 per cent. Although the compliance rate for radio ads was 83 per cent, the sample size, 12 ads in total, was too small to give a clear indication of any underlying problem in this media.

The product category with the most ad breaches was 'rum', which had a compliance rate of 75 per cent though all four breaches were from the same campaign. Beer, lager, spirits and vodka accounted for the other products that were in breach. Of the 147 wine ads and the 73 whisky and bourbon ads, none were considered to be in breach.

The compliance team obtained assurances from those advertisers whose ads were deemed problematic that they would not publish or broadcast the same ads again and would comply fully with the relevant Code in future.

Of the report findings, Director General of the ASA, Christopher Graham says ''The need for social responsibility in alcohol advertising is paramount, which is why the ASA regularly monitors this sector. This high compliance rate of 97 per cent shows that the vast majority of advertisers have taken the tightened advertising rules on board, which demonstrates that the system is working effectively to protect vulnerable consumers.''

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Alcohol Advertising Compliance Survey 2007