Ofcom’s Alcohol Rules Would Block Most Ads, Claims Industry

10 September 2004

New rules proposed by UK media regulator Ofcom on the advertising of alcoholic drinks could put an end to more than 85% of TV ads, including those featuring celebrities, animals and chart hits.

So say the Advertising Association and drinks giants such as Bacardi, whose use of its trademarked bat logo may have to be restricted if the proposals become law.

Ofcom has requested the current ban against alcohol ads that 'unduly appeal' to children be strengthened to include ads that 'strongly appeal' [WAMN:21-Jul-04].

But the alcohol industry, which spends £124 million ($221m; €181.5m) on TV advertising a year, claims this could mean the banning of ads legally aimed at mature drinkers. This could include those for Bacardi featuring US actor George Clooney, who appeals both to women over 35 and children and teenagers alike.

Says the Advertising Association's director general Andrew Brown: "Ofcom's intentions are right but they have gone about it in the wrong way."

He cites the recent analysis of alcohol ads that found only 14% would pass Ofcom's strict censorship. "That's not dealing with alcohol abuse, that's a broad brush attack on the alcohol industry."

The consultation period for Ofcom's proposals ends on September 24, with the watchdog wanting to implement the new rules by 1 November.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff