Alcohol advertising in the United Kingdom will from October 1 this year be subject to a new set of guidelines aimed at discouraging drinking by the under-18 age group and encouraging responsible drinking among adults.

The new rules, published Friday by the UK ad industry's self-regulatory body BCAP (Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice), govern all non-broadcast ads. The edict largely mirrors the TV and radio restrictions laid down in 2004 by media supra-regulator Ofcom.

In summary, the rules require that ads depict alcohol being consumed and served responsibly, ensuring they do not imply any link between drink and "seduction" or other sexual activities. Nor may they show people behaving in what BCAP calls an "adolescent or juvenile way" with alcohol.

In line with the Ofcom TV rules, ads in print and outdoor media may not associate alcohol with social image, sexual attraction, youth appeal or excessive consumption.

Claims BCAP chairman Andrew Brown: "These new rules demonstrate the benefits of the new system of regulation. [Our] one-stop shop allows complementary consideration [in alignment with Ofcom] of changes to the rules for non-broadcast, radio and television advertisements, providing advertisers with a clearer indication of what is acceptable in their advertising."

Although the rules lack the force of law, media owners are almost certain to refuse to carry offending ads.

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff