Pressure is mounting for alcohol advertising to become more restrained, according to senior industry figures.
Speaking at the London International Wine & Spirits Fair this week, David Poley, director of compliance and good practice at the Portman Group, said: “We are already seeing drinks companies putting their own responsible drinking messages on to their products and being proactive before the government gets involved.”
Research by market analyst Euromonitor on the projected effects of legislative changes on the UK industry concluded that an outright ban on alcohol advertising was not expected, but tighter advertising rules would have an impact on the industry.
Adrian McKeon, MD of Allied Domecq Wines, said: “A total ban is something the government could threaten if companies fail to act responsibly.”
Alex Anson, trading director
of Threshers Group, also noted there could be repercussions for the retailer. “If the government has a knee-jerk reaction and decides that promoting bulk consumption of wine is irresponsible, then it is a serious threat to the industry.”
Euromonitor also noted that wine advertising was least at risk because it was the least advertised sector in alcoholic drinks and its approach tended to be more subtle.
Mike Paul, MD of Western Wines, said: “Wine companies haven’t been overtly targeting the 18-25 age group, so we have almost been watching from the sidelines.”
Euromonitor predicted that advertisers might be forced to use strategies in line with clients’ willingness to demonstrate a responsible approach. It noted two factors that would cause drinks companies to advertise more responsibly - the threat from the European Union and the 24-hour drinking debate.
Sonya Hook