ICC clarifies do’s and don’ts for responsible alcohol marketing

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Marketing and Advertising has published new guidelines on alcohol marketing and advertising.

The ICC says its Framework for Responsible Marketing Communications of Alcohol (The Framework) offers companies and self-regulatory bodies a guide for bolstering responsible practice across markets. It also says it will also serve as the basis for developing self-regulatory rules for marketing alcohol where these do not exist.

The ICC says the Framework was developed by the body of global experts responsible for developing and updating the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice, which serves as the gold standard for most national and sectoral self-regulation.

Oliver Gray, co-chairman of ICC’s Code Revision Task Force, said: “The Framework takes principles, such as social responsibility, and spells out what it means when developing or assessing an alcohol marketing communication.”

“So whether you are marketing beer in Japan, wine in Argentina or spirits in the US, promoting your product as a means for social success, performance in sport or attractiveness to the opposite sex is not an acceptable practice. And for self-regulatory organisations reviewing advertisements to enforce those principles, this extra clarity will be invaluable,” he said.

“The commission worked in close consultation with the alcohol sector,” said Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, ICC senior policy manager for the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising. “Care was taken to ensure the Framework could help companies meet their commitments to strengthening self-regulation but with attention to not disrupting existing codes.”

“We have been strongly supportive of this effort,” said Brett Bivans, senior vice-president of the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP). “This is a significant step in strengthening and clarifying high standards of responsible marketing, and we will work closely with ICC and other partners as the Framework is implemented.”

ICC has served as the authoritative rule-setter for international advertising since the 1930s, when the first ICC Code on advertising practice was issued. Since then, it has updated and expanded the ICC self-regulatory framework where needed to assist companies in marketing their products responsibly and to help self-regulators apply the rules consistently.