Alcohol advertising under pressure

30 May 2013

LONDON: Alcohol advertising is coming under increasing regulatory pressure in several markets, with a review in the UK, a ban in Turkey and, in the US, a limited ban proposed in Los Angeles.

Ad regulators in the UK have been asked by Ofcom, which oversees the communications industries, to look again at the rules that ban alcohol ads from airing during TV programmes that appeal to under-18s.

The move follows a report from Ofcom showing that children now see more than three alcohol ads a week and that a change in viewing habits means they are increasingly watching programmes, such as Britain's Got Talent or The X Factor, that are aimed at an adult audience.

In Turkey, legislation has recently been passed to restrict the sale and advertising of alcohol. Promotions, sponsored activities, festivals and free giveaways have been banned and the use of logos restricted to premises licensed to sell alcohol.

In addition, liquor bottles will carry health warnings and images of alcohol appearing on television will be blurred in a similar way to cigarettes.

Drinks giant Diageo, which bought into the Turkish market in 2011 with the $2.1bn acquisition of local spirits manufacturer Mey Icki, described the rapidly introduced legislation as "surprising and disappointing".

In the US, the Los Angeles city authority is considering a ban on alcohol advertising on municipal property, a move which would substantially reduce the number of outdoor advertising display surfaces available to alcohol advertisers.

Philadelphia already operates such a ban and in San Francisco alcohol advertising is not permitted banned on public transport.

Elsewhere, healthcare workers in Cambodia have blamed a rise in traffic accidents on greater alcohol consumption which they link directly to increased alcohol advertising.

Some countries have introduced especially tough rules. Last year, Russia banned alcohol advertising on television, radio, the internet, public transport and billboards, and in print media from the start of 2013, in an attempt to tackle the country's drink problem.

Data sourced from Campaign, Hurriyet, Bloomberg, MediaPost, Voice of America, BBC; additional content by Warc staff