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Home > Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland 39th annual report 2019.

Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland. (2020) Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland 39th annual report 2019. Dublin: Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland.

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Reflective of the ASAI’s key and central role as the regulator for the advertising industry, we pride ourselves on our strong relationships with many key stakeholders. We engage with a multiplicity of cross-sectoral stakeholders, representative of the depth and breadth of the Code. Key areas currently include matters concerning children, food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic drinks and health and beauty. 

P.17 Alcohol Advertising

The framework for the regulation of alcohol advertising in Ireland is one of the most robust in Europe. Prior to The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (‘the Act’) being introduced with effect from 12 November 2019, the ASAI Code provisions ensured, and continue to ensure, that marketing communications for alcohol products do not glamorise them, do not encourage over-consumption or immoderate consumption, and, very importantly, ensure that they do not appeal to children. The number of marketing communications found in breach of the Code by the independent Complaints Committee continues to be very low. This has been the case since the introduction in 2003 of CopyClear, a service which pre-vets all alcohol marketing communications in Ireland against the ASAI Code. In addition to the provisions of the ASAI Code, and prior to the Act, alcohol marketing communications had to comply with the rules set down in the Alcohol Marketing, Communications, and Sponsorship Codes of Practice. 

The aim of these Codes has been to limit the exposure of young people, in particular, to advertising and include provisions on where and when alcohol marketing communications can appear. The ASAI provides secretarial and executive services to the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body, which was set up by the Department of Health in 2006 to oversee compliance with the Codes. The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 introduced legislation concerning restrictions on marketing communications for alcohol products. The initial impact of the statute came into effect in November 2019 and broadly is anticipated to be fully effective over a subsequent three-year period. The ASAI Code will be amended appropriately to take full account of the changes imposed by the Act. The Code will continue to play a vital role in alcohol advertising in areas not covered by the Act, such as digital advertising. 

Non-alcohol Product Variants

The introduction of new alcohol legislation has coincided with an increase in the emergence of non-alcohol product variants being advertised in the Irish market. While the Code provides that the full application of its alcohol section may apply, it was considered that the full application of those provisions should not apply to the new product category. However, in the public interest and for the protection of children, care is needed to ensure that they are not addressed to, nor contain content, that is primarily of interest to children. Therefore, in order to ensure that advertising for products that have an association to products that contain alcohol contains responsible content, the ASAI drafted guidelines for this product category. In line with ASAI practice, the guidelines were subject to a consultation process with key stakeholders. 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.

2) Any illustrated 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 Health and Safety requirements of the Code’s Alcoholic Drinks section.

3) Children’s media and advertising that is proximate to schools must be avoided and advertising should not appeal to minors in either placement or content.

4) Marketing Communications should be clearly aimed at people aged 18 and over and anyone in an advertisement shown drinking or playing a significant role should be aged over 25 and should appear to be over 25. 

The new guidance note has been published in the best interests of consumers, those involved in the advertising industry and Irish society in general. The ASAI’s undertaking with this guidance is indicative of its aims to lead the way in ensuring all marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful. 

P.26 Complaints by Sector – including alcohol.

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