Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) issues new guidelines relating to the advertising of non-alcohol product variants

  • New guidelines are effective immediately
  • Onus is on brands and advertisers to ensure all non-alcohol product advertising and promotion complies with the ASAI code

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), the independent self-regulatory body committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, has introduced new guidelines relating to the advertising of non-alcohol product variants.

Marketing communication for alcoholic drinks are already required to adhere to the ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland, which applies to all commercial marketing communications, regardless of the medium in which they appear. Given the emergence of more non-alcoholic products on the market, the ASAI has now developed new guidelines to assist brands in the development of their advertising and marketing communications for these products. These new guidelines for non-alcohol beverages comes into force immediately.

Below are the key points of the new guidelines:

1) It should be made very clear at the start and throughout a marketing communication that the product is non-alcoholic.

a) Note: There should be no scope for confusion over the product’s content from the beginning so that consumers are able to easily identify that the product being advertised is a non-alcoholic product.

b) To ensure the nature of the product is easily identifiable, the following should be taken into account;

i) the context of the name of the product;

ii) and/or the content of the ad;

iii) and/or the media used.

c) Three potential scenarios are given by way of example:

i) Media – TV / video on demand: If the product name clearly indicates the nature of the product, then this should be displayed prominently throughout the ad.

ii) Media – outdoor / print / non video online content: If content immediately makes it clear that the product is a non-alcohol product, no further clarification is required.

iii) Media – radio: the nature of the product should be made clear at the beginning of content

2) If there is absolutely no doubt that the product is a non-alcohol product variant:

On the basis that the product is an alternative to alcohol, the depiction of activities which could be considered a risk to personal safety (similar to that if alcohol was being or was to be consumed) is unlikely to be considered in conflict with the Code requirements at Section 9.8.

3) Children:

a) Children’s media and advertising that is proximate to schools must be avoided;

b) Advertising should not appeal to minors in either placement or content.

4) Marketing Communications should be clearly aimed at people aged 18 and over:

a) Treatments that would appeal primarily to children should not be used;

b) Anyone depicted in a marketing communication shown drinking or playing a significant role should be aged over 25 and should appear to be over 25.

Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, says the new guidance note is being published in the best interests of consumers, those involved in the advertising industry and Irish society in general.

“The market for non-alcohol products has seen an increase in recent years. It’s important that there is no confusion between these products and alcohol products, and that advertising contains no appeal to children. We have developed these guidelines to help companies who deliver the marketing communications for non-alcohol products.”

“As the independent self-regulatory body committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, the ASAI aims to lead the way in ensuring all marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful.”

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