ASA Alcohol Advertising Survey:
Compliance with the Advertising Codes hits record high

The Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) latest Alcohol Advertising Survey reveals a high 99.7% compliance rate with the Advertising Codes.

This is the third comprehensive ASA survey of alcohol ads since the introduction of new stricter alcohol advertising rules in 2005. They were significantly tightened by industry in response to Government and public concern about underage and irresponsible drinking and place a particular emphasis on protecting young people.

Of the 307 alcohol ads assessed during the survey sample only one was considered in breach of the CAP Code, a compliance rate of 99.7%. The ASA considered a press ad for a lager, featuring a price promotion, was likely to be seen to encourage excessive drinking and implied that alcohol was indispensable.

Encouragingly, the result is an improvement on the compliance rate of 98.9% from the 2008 survey and 97.4% from the 2007 survey. As in 2008, none of the online ads examined during the survey breached the Code. Of particular note, no ads for cider were identified as problematic whereas three were identified as in breach of the Codes in 2008.

Helping advertisers to maintain high compliance with the alcohol rules is an ongoing commitment of both the ASA and the Code writing body, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). CAP Services, which includes bespoke advice, online tools, advice newsletters and training seminars, is designed to raise awareness of the rules and to prevent breaches.

In summary, the rules state that alcohol ads:

• should not be associated with people under 18 or reflect their culture
• must neither link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success nor imply that alcohol can enhance attractiveness, masculinity or femininity
• should be socially responsible and should neither encourage excessive drinking nor suggest that drinking can overcome boredom, loneliness or other problems
• should neither show, imply or refer to aggression or unruly, irresponsible or anti-social behaviour nor link alcohol with brave, tough or daring people or behaviour
• should not be directed at people under 18 through the selection of media, style of presentation, content or context in which they appear

Chief Executive of the ASA, Guy Parker said:  “The ASA and CAP are determined to help industry comply with the alcohol rules which is why we provide extensive training and advice. As our survey demonstrates, the work we have undertaken is helping, but advertisers are themselves playing a significant part in ensuring that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way.”


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