LONDON: Responding to a government consultation, members of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers are backing the concept of an educational campaign to encourage the country's drinkers to reduce their consumption of alcohol.

The Safe, Sensible, Social consultation is considering options including limiting free tasting and so-called 'happy hours – where early-evening drinks are sold more cheaply – as well as displaying health warnings wherever alcohol is sold.

Another alternative is the use of retail coding to  provide an insight into sales patterns, as the Department of Health aims to enforce the alcohol strategy it launched in June last year.

However, the ISBA argues that “positive action” such an advertising campaign would be much more effective than further regulation.

The organisation's director of public affairs, Ian Twinn, says the government should "harness the power of advertising and marketing to reinforce the official alcohol strategy."

He adds: "It would deliver a new, voluntary consumer education campaign designed to help tackle alcohol misuse in our society by changing attitudes towards the social acceptability of drunkenness."

Twinn also suggests that taking alcohol advertising out of the self-regulation system headed by the Advertising Standards Authority would undermine one of the world's "best-funded and most rigorously enforced systems."

Data sourced from Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff