Leading alcohol beverage marketers in Europe have agreed to work with the World Federation of Advertisers to draw up a set of self-regulatory guidelines aimed at keeping beer, wine and spirits ads pointed away from minors, especially in new media realms like social media. The new initiative has been dubbed the Responsible Marketing Pact.
The marketers -- which account for about half the ad spend for alcoholic beverages in Europe -- include AB-InBev, Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, Pernod Ricard and SAB Miller.
The new standards will apply throughout the European Union, comprised of 27 mostly Western European countries.
According to the WFA, the marketers will work with it and the EU to adopt standards that will address Facebook-sponsored content and user-generated content, sharing/forwarding functionality and other digital world distribution techniques.
Beyond digital, plans also call for what the WFA called a “common baseline standard” that would prohibit ads from being placed in media with an audience composition of less than 70% adults.
Standards would also address the creative content of ads and messages with the goal of prohibiting approaches that might be considered “particularly attractive to minors,” the WFA said.
Once the standards are in place, implementation and compliance will be independently monitored by Accenture, the global management consulting firm. Violations would be publicly reported.
According to Stephan Loerke, WFA Managing Director, the initiative “breaks new ground because it is the first time major companies from the beer, wine, and spirits sectors have come together to seek unified responsibility standards for all alcohol beverage marketing communications.”
“This is an excellent example of the contribution of voluntary action to the objectives of the European Strategy on reducing alcohol-related harm,” stated Christian Barré, CEO of Domecq Bodegas, Pernod Ricard.