Alcohol brands adopt digital guidelines

2 October 2014

NEW YORK: A group of the world's leading producers of alcohol brands has agreed a set of guidelines for online marketing and social media content that seeks to emulate the standards applying to traditional marketing activities.

Developed in close collaboration with the World Federation of Advertisers, the Digital Guiding Principles (DGPs) build on an extensive analysis of existing alcohol marketing self-regulation codes and aim to standardise them across companies, across markets, and across digital platforms to provide guidance for the digital marketing content produced by signatory companies.

These principles are relevant to all digital marketing communications, both paid and unpaid, by branded alcohol beverages, and cover advertising and marketing communications on websites such as social network sites and blogs, as well as mobile communications and applications.

In the interests of transparency, the DGPs will be independently monitored and the results will be shared publicly, including with relevant government agencies around the world.

A particular concern is that material is only viewed by an age-appropriate audience, as brands seek to restrict underage access to alcohol advertising as well as to the beverages themselves.

To that end the signatory companies have called on social media platforms to implement and strengthen age confirmation mechanisms.

And where digital platforms controlled by the companies themselves have the functionality to allow content sharing, they are advised to include a Forward Advice Notice, clearly stating that the content should not be forwarded to anyone under the legal purchase age in the country of viewing.

Stephan Loerke, Director General, WFA said that "the adoption of these ambitious new standards demonstrates how seriously alcohol producers are taking their responsibilities when it comes to the promotion of their products".

The producers signing up to the DGPs include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bacardi, Beam, the Brewers Association of Japan, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, the Japanese Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association, Molson Coors, Pernod Ricard, SABMiller and UB Group.

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff