12th May 2022
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have launched a consultation on advertising alcohol alternatives in light of the expanding market for non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks. The consultation sets out new proposed rules to the Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing Code (CAP Code) and Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) and new guidance on marketing alcohol alternatives.
With the increase in popularity of alcohol free alternatives to alcoholic drinks, CAP and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) consider that the marketing industry and the public would benefit from new rules and guidance to bring clarity to how these products should be marketed. Although the products are considered to be non-alcoholic, advertisements for them often use imagery associated with alcohol and often mention drinking occasions. As such, CAP and BCAP have considered how these products should be marketed responsibly and how they intersect with alcoholic products covered by the Codes.
CAP and BCAP propose a new sub-section of rules in the alcohol sections of both the CAP Code and BCAP Code, and an amendment to the BCAP scheduling rules, to deal specifically with alcohol alternatives. These rules will be accompanied by formal guidance, which also forms part of the consultation. Because the extremely low alcoholic strength of alcohol alternatives means that they are incapable of intoxicating consumers and their risk profile is therefore significantly reduced, CAP and BCAP determined that it would be overly restrictive to bring all ads for them under the full scope of the alcohol sections of the Codes. Instead, the proposal is for rules that deal with any references to alcohol, specific alcoholic products/brands, and/or behaviours connected to alcohol consumption or the culture surrounding it. You can read the full text of the proposed rules here.
The consultation closed on 5 May 2022 and so we will keep you updated as to the outcome.